Monday, May 17, 2021

Painting Tag


If you are a long-term Garden Rail reader, the name you will most readily associate with the magazine is my illustrious predecessor, Tag Gorton. For many, he is Mr Garden Railway, and as such, was immortalised by Rob Bennet as a 16mm scale figure years ago.

Thanks to an eBay auction, I picked up a mini-Tag for a tenner, along with Jones the Steam. Obviously, I will need to add him to the collection so he can appear on my railways. Which meant finding a reference photo. 

The only one I have shows Manfred R. Meliset, former editor of Garten Bahn magazine, Tag and myself. From a painting point of view - it would have been nice if he'd worn a plain shirt! Still, if a job is worth doing...

Adding glasses to the figure, something also required on 3D printed people, is a challenge. I bent some brass wire around a small screwdriver and the result looks OK, and in keeping with the cartoony look of the little person. 

Now, to paint the Welsh driver.

Sunday, May 16, 2021



I can't think of anything interesting to say today, so here is a picture of a foghorn on the Isle of Man.

Saturday, May 15, 2021

Saturday Film club: The Far Tottering and Oyster Creek Branch Railway


A really nice video covering the FT&OCR putting it in the context of the Festival of Britain. For those interested in the wider subject beyond the railway will enjoy the footage showing the sites now. 

There's some decent production values here, with a good script and some research. It's the right length too - so many YouTube films go on too long for their material, but this doesn't overstay its welcome.

Friday, May 14, 2021

Video: The Hornby 3 1/2 inch gauge Rocket coach


You know how it it - you buy a new model and feel the need to record an unboxing video to go with it. 

Well, this isn't exactly new - it's the G104 4-wheel coach from the late 1970s, but it's new to me and I had an idea for a moving look around. 

Thursday, May 13, 2021

Going modular in June Garden Rail


It's showtime!
We look forward to the National Garden Railway Show, in Peterborough. One of the highlights of the display is a giant, modular layout built by members of the 16mm Association. We take a look at the system and explain how you can get involved in the future. 
On the workbench, we have one of the most eye-catching locomotives ever seen on our pages, a South African Class 91 diesel. There's also an Isle of Man station, budget radio control and a good look at rivets and how we can model them. 
All this, plus the latest round-up of new products for the large-scale modeller, letters and our readers own models, in the June issue of Garden Rail. 

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Concrete prefab huts


I know nothing about these buildings, other than when travelling to Rocks by Rail for some filming a couple of weeks ago, I new when I saw them I'd have to stop on the way home to take photos. Even the design is new to me, although they are modular, so presumably these can be found elsewhere.

I'm not even sure where I found them as it was the edge of a village. However, if it helps, all these images are full-size if you click on them. There is some great modelable detail here.

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Smoke & Steam

Smoke & Steam

Something new in railway publications launched last week - Smoke & Steam is a new bookazine from World of Railways.

My contribution is a piece on weathering model steam locomotives. There's isn't a lot of modelling content in here, but as publishers of BRM, we were obviously put a little in. 

The bulk of the articles are well-written prototype pieces by respected authors. Each is a long-form article with plenty of illustration. To ensure quality, those same writers have "peer reviewed" each other and changes made. In addition, the BRM team have had a look as well. 


Following the Flagman - Dover’s seafront railway – Paul Isles

Forgotten Railways - The Peak District mainline – Graham Nicholas

Iconic stations: Exploring Salisbury – Graham Muspratt

Travelling in style: The Cornish Riviera Express – Adrian Vaughan

Mallard: A Pictorial Journey – Tony Wright

Semaphore Signalling - Why the GWR was different – Mike Romans 

There’s only one Edinburgh Waverley – Ian Lamb

Restoring an SR Merchant Navy – Graham Musprattt

Goods locomotives of Buckingham – Tony Gee

Moving Into BR - the GWR becomes the Western Region  - Mike Romans

Weathering a locomotive – Phil Parker 

I'll admit I have a favourite - Following the flagman - because of the cracking images of dockside steam locos including P class and B4 tanks. With one of the later in the "to do" pile, I'm not going to bother looking much further for my prototype. 

Last week, I was in the office and got my paws on the test shop (an EP in toy train terms) and was mightily impressed. This doesn't feel like a bookazine, it's a softback book. The paper quality is very high as a coffee-table publication was the aim, and I think it's more than there.

You might say "Well, you would say that" - and I'd certainly have told you that I had an article in there as I always do, but not be quite so impressed. The gestation process for this publication has been protracted, but mainly due tot he effort put in to make it as good as possible and not a cheap/quick mag to grab a few quid. There's enough of those already!

At £9.99 for the paper version, this isn't cheap, but the money is all on the page. The plan is to get this in WH Smith later in the year, but if you want a copy now, they can be ordered in both paper and digital forms right now. 

Smoke & Steam - Paper version. 

Smoke & Steam - Digital version.

Monday, May 10, 2021

The perfect boiler empty kit?

I'm getting in to running live steam models - far more then I expected to if I'm honest. They do need maintaining though and in my mind, one of the important post-run jobs is to empty the boiler of water. Getting liquid out is harder then putting it in, so when placing another order for rail clamps, I stuck this Boiler Emptying kit on the list at the same time.
What arrives is a syringe with a 20cm long vinyl (I think) hose that is 4.5mm in diameter.
It seems long enough to get into the recesses of both the Mamod and Willi boilers. According to the website, you are supposed to use it when the water is cold, but I didn't realise. The pipe became more flexible, but otherwise suffered no ill effects. It's stiffened up now anyway. Still very flexible though.

 I'm sure someone will tell me the whole thing could be made for tuppence ha'penny or something - and I did make my own but the tube was a big fat. Putting a modified pipette on the end helped, but this is a lot better. And I don't think a fiver is a lot to spend on keeping my engines working.

Sunday, May 09, 2021

A nerdy day out in Rugby

 Needing a to have a day out last Sunday, I finally got around to doing something I've been meaning to for years - taking some photos of Rugby cement works. 

While I'm sure many people will consider it ugly, every time I drive by on the way to the office, it fascinates me. 

A bright Sunday provided a great opportunity to wander around and take some shots of all the odd-shaped buildings. Access isn't great, but then that's no surprise. Plenty of trees around the edges of the site camouflage things a little too, so getting in before they are in full leaf isn't a bad idea either. 

I've no idea what most of these buildings do, but simply as a guide for concrete colours and interesting industrial shapes, they are worth a look. 

After this, I trundled to the railway station, out of curiosity more than anything else. Here, I found  Euro car park that offered a superb view of the main line from the upper deck. A bit of a fight with the parking website later, I'd paid my pound for the day, and sat reading while trains went by. 

Traffic, on a Sunday, is mostly Pendalios and other sorts of units, so I didn't bother with many photos. There were a couple of freights with proper locos on the front though. 

For a few hours, I just enjoyed sitting reading and watching trains. Very restful, I'll do it again one day.

Saturday, May 08, 2021

Saturday Film Club: Building a 1/4 scale flat four engine


I remember seeing this range of plastic kit engines for the first time at the London Toy Fair a few years ago.At the time I was happy they didn't make a VW engine. But now it seems this has changed, and this video doesn't reduce my desire to build one.

 Must resist...

(Get yours from Amazon)

Friday, May 07, 2021

Unboxing: Hornby R8133 Timber Yard


 I've not seen this operating accessory mentioned in the past - so here we go with an unboxing video. Thrill to the exciting action, but remember, no more then three logs!

Thursday, May 06, 2021

Reconnecting the track


I'm not sure why there was a section of curve disconnected from the garden railway circuit. Nor do I know where the space rail clamps had gone. 

A quick order to and another packet of clamps was mine. Then a quick tidy up of the ends, some Piko conductive paste, and the circuit was complete again. 

Looking at the rest of the line, the clamps fitted last year have worked perfectly. Nothing has moved, so getting the line running didn't involve clambering around sliding rail back into fishplates. 

The battery powered Piko track cleaner quickly found itself trundling around, shortly followed by steam power with Willi. Track power can wait for a bit as there are plans to move the mains powerpoint, just as soon as we can find an electrician who will actually turn up and do competent work!

All this highlights the plight of the station area. I didn't clamp this, partly for looks, but mostly because the things are so pricey. However, it's obvious that this is money well spent, so more have been ordered. As soon as the weather plays ball, another chunk of railway will be lifted and relaid. 

Wednesday, May 05, 2021

Book Review: Phone Kiosks of the Isle of Man

Let's not beat around the bush - there are few books more calculated to get me to hit the "Buy now" button that one that combines my twin interests of the Isle of Man, and telephone kiosks. 

I might be a niche market, but it's a very comfortable niche. 

The book tours Mona's Isle with a selection of captioned photos of various kiosks and their surrounding scenery. 

The author has looked beyond the classic K6 box and includes some of the modern(ish) KX1000 range. With these being very much under threat, it's only fair that they get a look in before they are also only a memory on our streets - after all, when was the last time you saw a Mercury kiosk?  

Most excitingly for 'phone box nerds, the island is home to three K8 boxes!

I'll admit, this book looks a lot like my photo collection. At least two scrapbooks full of similar photos exist on my shelves, and countless files on my computer. The thing is, photographing a 'phone box is a great way to learn composition. It's a standard item, so the skill is making each one look its best. Great fun!

For me, this is a great way to look around the Island's lesser know spots. Some I'm familiar with. Others less so but I'll look up if and when we can travel again. 

Production is very good. Photos are well reproduced in colour. The captions are long enough - after all, there's not that much you can say each time!

It's nice to see many boxes being repurposed as defibrillator holders or mini libraries. Our streetscape would be poorer without them. 

I bought my copy from the Lexicon Bookshop in Douglas.

Tuesday, May 04, 2021

Rocket waggons in the Hornby Collectors Club magazine


No, not wagons with rockets on them. Not even a train for the Battlespace Turbo car, but loads for the waggons (note the extra g) sold to compliment the Hornby Stephenson's "Rocket". 

The pack of three flats is interesting and took a little digging to work out exactly what should be on the back of them.

Contemporary illustrations are pretty much useless as artists seemed to have no concept of drawing what they saw - the results are almost cartoons that bear no relation to reality. 

Not to worry, I found a historian who could explain, and then went away to build the models. 

I think the results look the part and aren't particularly difficult to make. There's even a model boat used for added variety. 

Hornby Collectors Club. 

Monday, May 03, 2021

Vote Cakebox!


It's the last day of voting in the latest BRM Cake Box challenge competition. 

All the entries are terrific, and the result of some serious hard work on the part of those builders responsible. If I'm honest, I don't think I could pick a favourite, but handily, I don't have to!

You can see all the models, and vote for one here. 

Please have a look, there is a lot of cracking modelling to be found. Who knows what you will be inspired to do yourself?

Sunday, May 02, 2021

Millimetres are here to stay, get over it.


Catching up with the May issue of Model Boats magazine, there is an expanded letters page where the newish editor gives space to all the worst moaners. Since taking up the post, she has shaken up the magazine a bit (IMHO, it needed it) and of course, not everyone is happy. 

Much like Internet trolls, the writers of these letters don't expect them to make it into print. When they do, and I've done the same trick myself, they get a bit of a shock. 

The overall theme is "curmudgeonly"

Basically, there are some old blokes who extrapolate from themselves to decide what should appear on the page. 

I can't work out which is the funniest beef:

"There's too much Navy" - in a model boats magazine? 

"Since our club has only one steam boat in it, we don't need all this steam stuff" - then you need a better club mate. Ours has several boats and even offer a boiler testing service.I would suggest that we aren't alone judging by the number of steam boats on show on engineering event boat club stands.

But I think the prize has to go to:

"Another gripe I must make is why do we have to put up with metric measurement? Our own way was by far the best and as an old guy get totally confused with metres." 

Now, I'm half a century old and was only ever taught metric at school. Imperial got a mention, but if I want to measure accurately, it's metres, centimetres and millimetres for me. I'll happily say something is 15 feet away when estimating, but when the ruler comes out, I remember I have 10 fingers. 

So, in over 50 years, the writer hasn't worked out how to count to ten. That's not a huge problem, as there's no reason not to quote both, but to demand that metric is ignored because he's too lazy to look at the other side of the ruler? Hmmm

Of course, I am assuming he wants imperial measurements. When he says "our own way", he might be thinking hands, cubits and licks. Or perhaps he wants to go back to the days when a foot was 11 1/42 inches long? After all, isn't that more traditional?  

If any hobby is going to continue into the future, there's no point denying the present. I'm uncomfortable with 3D printing in some respects. I'm no fan of DCC control - but I know these and other developments will continue to occur and we might as well live with them and enjoy the benefits.

If you want your hobby to die with you, and I think there are people in every hobby who wish for this, then carry on refusing progress. No-one is forcing you, personally, to move with the times. Your boat can use canvas sails and a self-steering mechanism instead of radio control. Just don't try to force this on everyone else.

Saturday, May 01, 2021

Saturday Film Club: The river Thames in 1959


Time to don the rose tinted glasses and take a super-saturated trip with the Look at Life team, along the river Thames. In those days, the Port of London was still operating with cargo ships in sight of Tower Bridge.

Friday, April 30, 2021

Mamod Minor 2

Mamod Minor 2 

In preparation for tomorrows #twittersteamrally I dug out a tiny steam engine that's several years older then I am. 

I've no idea why my dad bought the Mamod Minor 2 steam plant years ago. I only recall it being steamed once, and that was in the kitchen where it slid itself around the worktop on a thin slick of water. Plans were mentioned of turning it into a steam tram, but obviously nothing came of this. 

Anyway, out of curiosity, I pulled it out of storage, filled the burner with lovely smelling meths, topped the boiler up with hot water and gave it a go. 

And off it ran! I guess that the Mamod is so simple, there is very little to go wrong with it and so at at least 55 years old, it is still happy to chunter away. 

After the run, my little engine looked a bit of a state, so it was time to dig out the Brasso and some elbow grease. 

The brass appears to be lacquered, but there was quite a lot of corrosion around the water outlet on the end and under the silver retaining strap and this took some action from the fibreglass pencil to burnish away. The best solution was to polish away the coating and accept that cleaning will be a bit tougher in future. To be honest, I prefer the high shine look anyway and quite enjoy metal polishing on a small scale, so I can live with this. 

And there we are - all ready for the #twittersteamrally.

Thursday, April 29, 2021

Fettling Felix


Felix is an odd boat.Built from a Krick kit by my father, neither of us can actually remember any of this happening. We certainly couldn't tell you when the model was built other than "years ago". 

To make it worse, this is a really nice boat. He has detailed the interior with a captain sitting at a control desk, and cabin interior to hide the radio control gear. A few LGB people, and it really looks the part. 

Finding the boat tucked away in the corner of the space room behind some other stuff, we though it time for the boat to spend some time on the water. At 63 cm long, it's a nice size for our lake, and fits the role of boat sailed after chip buttie perfectly. 

Of course it wouldn't be plug and play. A freshly charged, or so I thought 6V jelly cell was connected up and the controls didn't seem to work. After a bit of poking the rudder moved, but the motor seemed to be trying, but not turning. I could spin the prop with my fingers, but not under power. 

A faulty speed control I concluded and swapped it for a new one. It didn't help. 

Checking the battery charger, one of the croc clips on the lead fell off. I soldered it back on, decided the dodgy joint had stopped it charging properly, plugged it all back in and gave it another charge. At the same time, we added some new batteries to an order from Howes, just to be sure.  

The results weren't great, so I tried another charger. Then when the new batteries arrived, I gave one a boost the same way. 

Back at the boat, something odd happened. Touching the speed control connections on the battery produced a spark. Plugging them in properly the battery started to get warm. Something was shorting out. 

The old battery didn't seem to give the same problem. The motor span over but only forward. Checking the programming, I reset everything (it is possible to set the control for forward only) and even tried a different transmitter. Still, forward only. 

With nothing to lose, I swapped back to the old speed control - suddenly everything was fine. Even with the new battery. 

So, it looks like the initial problems were due to a battery that had lost most of it's charge over the winter. I then put in a speed control that was either faulty, or quickly became so (Viper controls have a lifetime guarantee fortunately). Along the way, I cleaned and oiled the motor bearings and top of the propshaft which had a hint of rust. This quietened down the drive a bit.

On the water, the boat isn't fast, but it tootles silently around nicely on about 3/4 stick. With a bit more charge in the battery, I suspect we can get a bit more go out of it. Some extra weight in the stern won't hurt either. 

Most importantly, this mystery boat is now working. And it looks good doing it. 

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

The ubiquitous steam tram


A few weeks ago, I mused about the possibilities for motorising an Atlas steam tram model. Within minutes, there were comments pointing me in the direction of write-ups showing how to achieve this. 

To cap it all, through the door comes 009 News, and there is a tram on the front cover! 

 It seems that I'm far from alone in seeing the possibilities. In fact I wonder if there is a single 009 layout not running one! 

This all goes to show that no matter how long you spend around model railways, it's simply not possible to know everything there is about this great hobby. 

Thanks very much to all those who provided suggestions. One day, I will give them a go - or should I try to be different? Clockwork anyone?

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

The trendy glass pot


Thanks to an offer at Sainsbury's, I've enjoyed a few Gu puddings. The cold ones are delicious, and not too large. Big enough to satisfy, but one is plenty. The hot ones are horrible, but we aren't concerned with those right now. 

Anyway, each pudding comes in a little glass dish 8cm wide and 4cm deep. It's a nice quality item that bugs me because you chuck them in the recycling after one use. OK, glass recycles well, but it seems so wasteful. 

It occured to me that a couple of these would be useful on the modelling board as somewhere to put little bits while working. A safe haven for screws and small components. 

I'm not alone in this - now I know what I'm looking for, I've seen at least two on the TV show The Repair Shop. And another on the jewellery making competition All That Glitters. At first I wasn't sure, but have now taken to peering closely at the screen every time a glass pot appears. Yes, I am weird.

Monday, April 26, 2021

Free to a good home - Melbridge Town

Old Goods Shed 

A few days ago, I received an unexpected message.Many years ago, my father and I build an 18ft by 6ft roundy-roundy OO gauge layout called "Melbridge Town". It was based on a trackplan in MRJ by Barry Norman for (I think) Nottingham Thorneywood Station.

We liked the look of it because it offered an urban location, most of the station building could be off-scene and there were transfer loops for freight that we though would head off to the docks in our world. 

At the time, we fancied a step up from small shunting layouts to something where we could watch the trains go by, but still shunt wagons around. 

The scenic boards were built and PCB track  made and laid. I made well over 20ft of retaining wall, a soul-destroying task. Wiring took ages and I tried to incorporate the panel along the entire back of the layout to reduce plugs and sockets - an idea that didn't work very well. 

Lack of space meant that we had to build the end curves and fiddle yards in a weekend at the railway clubrooms. The 6ft traverser fiddle yard was rubbish but we didn't have time to develop it. 

Anyway, we took the layout to Banbury and Derby shows. Basically, the fiddle yard was nailed down so the non-sliding table didn't. Trains ran around the model and looked OK, but we weren't happy and by Derby, the model was up for sale. 

Anyway, it went to new home where some developments were carried out, including binning the fiddle yard. I saw it at a show and was really pleased it enjoyed a new life. The thing worked OK and could take large-ish locomotives and long trains. 

Had we enjoyed somewhere to erect the layout and leave it up, it would probably have finished it, but the lesson learned was never to build more model than you can put up at home. To do so means you can't debug it properly. 

We don't even have any photos of the model. The few we did, were lost when some water got into the drawer they were stored in years ago. The shot at the top is all that is left. 

Anyway, it turns out the layout changed hands again. The new owner stripped some of the wiring off as part of a move to DCC, but hasn't done any work on it for five years. The model sits packed up in his garage and needs a new home again. 

So, if you want a moderate size continuous run layout - for free - and don't mind getting in a van and collecting it from Barrow-in-Furness, then drop me an e-mail and I'll put you in touch with the current owner. You'll need to be ready for some work, but less than starting from scratch. If I had the space, I'd take it back for old times sake, but I don't, so I won't.

Sunday, April 25, 2021

First chip buttie'n'sail of 2021. Now pay attention Parker!


With Covid restrictions lifted for a while, my dad and I have been able to resume our weekly trip to the model boat club for a chip buttie and sailing session. 

A sunny evening in the countryside is just the ticket. It gets me away from the screen for a while, and there is something relaxing about pootling around the lake lazily with a model boat. I think it's a form of mindfulness - you need to pay attention but not too much and so you can't help but relax. 

The buttie? Well, it's teatime and while I'm sure some sun-dried tomatoes and humus would be healthier, they wouldn't taste as nice. As a bonus, the table gets a good spray of anti-bacterial cleaner so it keeps the club hygienic. 

What did I say about paying attention? It seems I'm a bit rusty when it comes to sailing...

Still, no harm done. Once I'd pulled the weed out of the propeller anyway!

Saturday, April 24, 2021

Saturday Film Club: Hornby Railways R.345 Side Tipping Wagon with Pipe Load


I love an operating accessory for my model railway, and have a couple of Hornby side tipping wagons - but not the pipe tipper version as shown here. One to look out for. 

I also think that bright red with white boiler bands is the best livery ever for a GWR loco, and putting a super-chuff system in the tender only makes things better.

Friday, April 23, 2021

Lima operating accessories

Through the post with the Taylor & McKenna plastic bags, was a 1978/9 Lima catalogue. Inside was temptation: 

Lima 1978 catalogue

Lima 1978 catalogue

Now, I'm sure the Automatic Car Unloader has been in the Hornby range recently, although I can't find a listing for it at the moment. The Drive Through Coach wash looks familiar too, but what about the rest? 

I really fancy the Rolling Stock Transporter - and I'm sure it has masses of play value as well as being realistic since very little rolling stock travels by rail nowadays, at least when it's going to works or on holiday to preserved railway line. 

The Engine Shed with a traverser looks a bit nifty too, but I'm not sure about the engine shed with swinging thing in front of it, what's that all about? 

Anyway, this has provided a whole new range I need to add to my operating accessories collection. In the meantime, I've already started lobbying the Big H to get these back in the range!

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Signal boxes, mud and measuring tools in May's BRM


"Of course I can do two signal boxes for this issue", I said when talking in a meeting about the May issue of BRM. I'd already booked the Dexter's Cove model in for a build, but we had an Oxford Rail ready-to-plonk model in, and putting an interiors inside both seemed like a good idea. 

So it is, I've completed a couple of models - both of which took a bit longer than expected, but provide a variety of coverage for the topic in a single issue. The regular reader will know that the interior build didn't entirely go to plan either

On the review pages, I take a look at Volume 3 of the Building a Model Railway series of DVD's - complete with a lovely mugshot of Ten Commandments Dave that I'm sure I'll get stick for next time we meet at a show...

There's also a look at the new Mr Hobby Weathering Paste range - or pots of mud for modellers (one of my colleagues suggested a different substance, but this is a family magazine) which I've used on the tractor weathered he a few weeks ago

Finally, over on BRM TV, I grab all the measuring tools near my workbench and talk people through using them. 

All this, and more in the May 2021 issue of BRM.

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Garden Rail May 2021


Old steam locomotives never die - on the Vale of Evermore light railway, they go on and on while pulling scale length trains. A garden railway doesn't need to be complex to look stunning, this line will be many enthusiasts dream come true.

We've plenty of practical inspiration this month:
  • Building a delightful Smallbrook Studio "Sprite" battery-electric steam locomotive
  • An Irish railcar built by an etched-brass kit newbie
  • Restoring an old kitbuild loco found at the back of the cupboard
  • Scratchbuilding a GVT van in 7/8th scale
  • Building a signal box complete with a detailed interior
  • Adding lights to your models

Buy the May issue of Garden Rail. 

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Paint clips


I'm a sucker for interesting tools, and so while ordering the Jimney kit, I also picked up some of these "Useful Paint Clips". 

What I have, is a bag of crocodile clips mounted on 13cm long sticks. 20 of them.

I gather from the packing, that there is another part to the tool - a base that the sticks are poked into for support. I have no idea where that is in the massive website, but don't really care. Those sticks can be poked into some polystyrene just as easily, or into a piece of wood with holes drilled into it. 

At 18p each, these seem like a bit of a bargain. I'll keep some on the modelling bench to use while soldering and the rest in the garage next to the airbrush.

Monday, April 19, 2021

Wanted: BR Lampshade


In my cupboard of projects, I have the wall mounting unit for a BR Mk1 coach lamp. I've always fancied rigging it up with a battery as a reading light - but the glass shade is missing. No surprise there, the things must have broken regularly.

Original shades are rare - or at least I've looked in the wrong places. There might be a modern replacement that fits I'm unaware of too. 

So, as you lot constantly surprise me - can anyone suggest a source for something suitable? I'm not going to fret about perfection, a shade that looks about right will do the job.

Sunday, April 18, 2021

Brain fog

I've made no secret that I've found the last year challenging - my modelling mojo seems to have left the building and despite trying various things, it's not come back. 

Then I read this interesting article: 

Brain fog: how trauma, uncertainty and isolation have affected our minds and memory

As I read it, the problem is that our brains demand stimulation, a survival mechanism from the days we were dodging dinosaurs. 

The problem at the moment is lack of stimulus. I'm not going anywhere, other than the same old walking routes. A year without shows means a year without much inspiration. I know there are magazines and YouTube, but it's not the same as seeing stuff for real. That's where I get my rush of enthusiasm from. 

Knowing all this isn't much help of course as there is nothing much I can do about it at the moment. Still, at least there is a reason.

Saturday, April 17, 2021

Saturday Film Club: Adding rivets


An interesting technique - bit super fiddly! I might have to invest in some balls though. And one of those rivet maker things.

Friday, April 16, 2021

Steam tram


A few weeks ago, I mentioned some Atlas Editions trams that we'd bought far too cheaply for the quality of the models. 

All have potential for a diorama, but as I learned to my cost building Hellingly, overhead wiring is a pain in the backside to do properly. That limits the electric trams use as moving models, but there is another in the range - this attractive steam tram. 

Tram number 12 is 70mm long and 25mm wide. The small boiler, only 25mm above rail level, doesn't provide a lot of space to fit a motor, but this is narrow gauge, and I suspect an N gauge Tomytec mechanism could be squeezed in. 

Possibly, the biggest problem is the trailer car. The bogies are moulded integral to the underframe trussing, and obviously they don't rotate. Probably the easiest option would be to scrape the whole lot off and replace with new bogies and scratchbuilt truss-rods. 

My suspicion is that someone has already carried out this conversion already - can anyone point me in the direction if it's been written up?

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Class 13

Class 13 

BR's Class 13 shunter is one of those fascinating prototypes that modellers love, but have no real use for. Designed to powerful shunters for Tinsley Marshalling Yard, the chances of anyone building a suitable layout are slim to non-existent. You'd need a massive space for a start, and the best part of a years supply of rolling stock from Bachmann. 

This model was built for my bookazine Modelling British Railways Diesel Locomotives. We needed some practical projects and this is both simple and eye-catching.

 Class 13 

Just like the prototype, I took a couple of Hornby 08 shunters and pulled the cab off one. This was replaced with RT Models conversion parts. No soldering is really required, you can do the whole job with glue making it one for relative newbies to the hobby. 

One thing to be careful with is your selection of base models. Try to get some with wasp stripes on the end, making painting easier. And check the selection of cabinets on the side. I had to cast a set of grilles to fit in place of some originally hidden by a cabinet. I'm not telling you which ones, but it was a job that I'd have been happier not to have to do. 

The locos aren't linked electrically, but then the model hasn't really been used in anger so I've not idea how much of a problem this might be.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Waterborne Wednesday: Canal workboats


A quick trip to Hatton Locks for some research allowed me to grab photos of a couple of the Canal & Waterways Trusts workboats. I know they aren't as glamorous as the pretty canal cruisers, but I like them. Definitely on the "one day" list for a model or two.

The wide-beam boat is new to me. I didn't know they were in use around here, although I have seen a wide liveaboard in the middle of Leamington. 


Tuesday, April 13, 2021

A question of scale


Pay attention when shopping on eBay. These resin plants were sold to me as 16mm scale models. The tallest is 33mm to the bottom of its pot, a bit bonsai. 

I should have spotted the Oxo cube included in the corner of the photo. If I had, I'd have realised the diminutive size of the models, which I'd assumed would be the sort of thing you see in planters on  you see on a station platform. No size was quoted in the description, and there was that cube, so I need to shut up about it. 

I'm not too worried, each plant cost me just over 60p, so the bank isn't broken. I also enjoyed an evening painting them up, so cheaper than the same amount of time in a pub, and I still have some pretty plants for a 16mm scale windowsill at the end of it. 

Next time though, I'll pay attention properly!