Saturday, December 03, 2022

Saturday Film Club: Building the Worlds Smallest Escalator (That WORKS)

An interesting 3D print and laser cutting project that shows there is a lot more to doing things that just owning the tools. 

Most of the parts went through several itterations before a final version appeared. That might be easier if you just have to tweak stuff on a screen and re-print/cut, but it demostrates that there's still a lot of skill involved, just different skills to "traditional" modelling.

Friday, December 02, 2022

Leader

 Leader

Random Friday Photo time - after sticking a chain cover on to the somewhat battered KR Models "Leader" EP sample, I took a quick shot of it on the DHAPR works layout. 

I've always been fascinated by Leader. An ugly and ultimatly unsuccesful experiment, it's one great big "What if" for railway enthusiasts to argue over. What if they had used oil or pulverised coal firing to avoid the fireman's sweatbox? What if a few less innovative bits of enginering had been used? Could this big beast have spawned a class? 

As it was, only the first ever ran, although I once met someone at a Saturday show social who swore that the second loco did take to the rails. It was almost ready to go, so maybe he was right...

Thursday, December 01, 2022

Lights, old locos, action! in the January BRM

 

It might be November, but our four-weekly publication schedule sees BRM reach 2023. The nights are dark, and so I'm putting some lights into 4mm scale road vehicles. 

The main project involves a Bedford OB bus - an idea that wasn't mine, and initially, I didn't belive it would be possible, but with a bit of fiddling, those light pods either side of the radiator can be illuminated. 

Out with the camera this month, I've bagged two layouts. 

Hayling Island, built by Richard Barton in O gauge is a delight. Firmly nailed to the wall in his garage, the line runs in a U-shape around the walls. Digital subscribers can enjoy a little tour of the line on video too. 

The star is the beautiful pre-grouping rolling stock, and the wooden viaduct on one side. There's plenty of boat action, and I made sure I included some of this within the pictures!

The 009 Cransley Estate Raiwlay follows on from last months' East Derbyshire Minteral Railway, and was the layout I'd origionally looked to go and shoot - the wonderful EM gauge standard line was just a happy find.

We could hav combined both into a single article, but that would have been a waste. Better to let the narrow gauge have the space. After all, the photos came out so well on both, we want to bring them all to the reader.

Finally, I've been to see the Hornby Railway Collectors Association, and interviewed their president. If you fancy getting into model railways on a very tight budget, then this is a world worth exploring. If you prefer your stock without lots of details to knock off, don't need sound and would like to carry out your own servicing, take the price of a reasonable OO loco to one of their events (join to get the details and magazine), and you'll return with enough to build a layout. And an exciting one too.

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

ARII Ghost box - painted and working

 

ARII Ghost box
Here we go. Job done. 

Painting the stonework was quite fun. I started with Humbrol 64, pale grey. Once tacky, some 147 was sponged on lightly, followed by talculm powder to blend the colours and add texture. Left to dry overnight, the finishing touch was a thin wash of 67 grey, dried with a hardryer. This last step is partly because I was impatient, but it also allows me to see the effect and add to it if required. 

The soil is earth colour, washed with track colour. This caused the base to lift in a couple of places, I should have given it a longer drying time, so a bit of scruffy static grass held down with hair spray adds a suitably run-down look. 

On the front, you can see a skull and crossbones sticker from the sheet provided, either side of which are the metal contacts that sense a coin is in place. So that this will happen: 


Isn't it brilliant? Best of all, if the claw doesn't grab the coin properly the first time, it has another go, which is properly spooky!

Time taken - probably just over three hours, split 50:50 between building and painting. For £15, that's about the same as being in the pub (I'm not a fast drinker. YMMV) but unlike most plastic kits, there's plenty of play value for the future to be had as well. If you've never built a plastic kit before, it's not ideal, but the mechanism isn't hard to figure out and is very much part of the fascination for me, so I really enjoyed this build. 

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

ARII Ghost box - mechanical bits

 

Here's what makes the Ghost Box work. The mechanism clips and screws together easily enough. The builder needs to pay attention to the orientation of the parts, but You can't put the things together wrongly really. 

Theres a lot of pressing gears and cams on to axles, and the kitmakers suggests a small hammer to force them home. I prefered to use a vice as a press. Even the little one on my bench opens wide enough to do this, and I feel that the gentle pressure is better for the plastic parts than shock forces. It's also easier to control things as you can stop th pressue when the vice jaws hit the end of the axle. 

There's some clever work here as obviously they don't want people soldering, so the wires are designed to be twisted around the metal parts that the cam operting the hand woks. I decided I could solder, and so I did. It should make for a more reliable mechanism. 

An AA cell fits in the base, and by touching the ends of the wires, you can test things work OK. Without the lid, that hand flaps about a bit, but as long as things are moving, all should be fine. I hope.

Monday, November 28, 2022

ARII Ghost box

 

ARII Ghost box
This is a rare kit. 

It must be, because it says so on the Post-It note on the end of the box. And on the many examples of the kit for sale online. 

So rare, that I ought to put it away in the kit stash and wait for its value to soar. 

However, I'm a rubbish investor, so I'm going to built it. After all, that's what plastic kits are for, and I doubt many of the ones I do have stored away are increasing in value right now. 

There are six flavours of Ghost Box in the Mysterious Coin Box series. I picked up the Zombie Hand version, from the three "rare" kits on sale at the IPMS show.  (How lucky was I to find three rare kits still on the stand at the end of a two-day show?) This would explain why the drawing inside the box shows a skull, from the Skull Head version. 

Anyway, inside there is a large (14 by 10cm) plastic base, a tombstone with inscription, and lots of black bits that will make up the mechanism, because this is a working model, along with the motor and metal parts. And a hand. A zombie hand.


Sunday, November 27, 2022

Myton Hospice vans

 

Myton Hospice van
Last year, my local club comissioned some wagons to support Myton Hospice. 

Well, they sold well, and raised a lot of money, so now we have gunpoder vans, again, in OO and N gauges. I think they look really good. 

As ever, if you fancy buying either, drop a line to: myton-wagon@lwmrs.co.uk , or if you are at the NEC show this weekend, visit the L&WMRS stand where you'll find them on sale. 

Prices

OO - £17

N - £15

Over £2000 has been raised for the hospice this way already (and yes, I did buy my vans).

Saturday, November 26, 2022

Saturday Film Club - Switches

Last week, I found myself falling down a rabbit hole on Twitter - someone asked if a particular push button switch had a nice action, and the comments were fascinating. Well, to me anyway. Sooo many opinions!

One of the replies included a link to this video, which appealed to me far more than it would to a normal person, and since you lot aren't normal people either, I'm posting it here. Enjoy!

Friday, November 25, 2022

Getting ready for Warley

 

Yes, it's here. Today is all about moving stuff to the NEC for the Warley National Exhibition. 

The World of Railways stand is A18 - not far inside the main door. On there you'll find the BRM team ready to chat model railways, and offer some deals on magazines and subscriptions. I have on good authority, there will be free sweeties to!

Please do come by and say hello to me, or "That Phil Parker, he's brilliant." to my boss. I look forward to seeing you.

Warley show website.

Thursday, November 24, 2022

Spruce up the unseen bits

I'm planning on taking the DHAPR Wagon Works to Warley this year, and when checking the model over, realised that for the first time ever, the public will be able to see the back of it. 

Now, when I built the layout, for speed, I simply ignored the areas that couldn't be seen. That's why the back of the model is a mass of unpainted, and lumpy, plaster. Not exactly the impression I want to give!

A few minutes with the power sander sort of smoothed the worst lumps. With more time I could have filled in the dips, but I just want it to look tidy, in a bit hall like the NEC, perfection isn't quite so essential. 


With five pots of grey to chose from, I selected one that it turned out, didn't match the front and sides. Fortunatly, there was enough in the bottom of the tin to give the whole baseboard a coat, and very smart it looks too. 

Finally, there was a gap along the back of the fence, so it was out with the static grass and flock powders to cover it up. My coarse flock is full of yellow as there was a bag of the pretty stuff stored in the container, and it's come open. The effect is quite nice though, and a sprinkle of fine green tones the colours down a little. 

I'm just glad I got the model out a few days early. You don't want to be doing this the night before and willing paint to dry faster!


Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Painted head part 2


There's not a huge amount of detail in this cheapo head, I supposed you don't really need much when it will be viewed from several hundred feet away as the 'plane zooms past. I keep things simple with a couple of coats of Humbrol flesh colour followed (when coat two is tacky) with a dry-brush of Revell flesh to provide highlights. 

Being such a large scale, I picked out the eyes properly complete with pupils. They even had a coat of gloss varnish.


Blu-tacked to the top of my old Liquid Poly bottle, I followed the instructions suggestions with a yellow scarf. The track colour jacket is dry-brushed with a lighter brown for a worn leather look, and the scull cap (is this the right term) rust dry-brushed with the samecolour. 

Finally, the goggles were painted, fixed in place with Glue'n'glaze and a strap added from painted masking tape. 

All this was acomplished by grabbing odd five miniutes here and there while very busy with work projects and provided a welcome distraction. I need to find more of these quickie jobs to do as this one stopped me slobbing around. A little satisfaction gained each time.

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Painted head part 1

While buying some wood from SLEC at the larger scale aircraft show, I spotted they also sold pilot heads for aircraft. I've looked at these before and thought painting one up would be a bit of fun, so added a 55mm tall model to my order for less than a couple of quid. 

In the packet are a couple of plastic head halves, and some googles. Cleaned up, they are stuck together with plastic cement. Part fit isn't great if I'm honest, you get what you pay for, and there was a bit of manipulation and solvent required to see the halves line up. 


Eventually, I managed to do it, well, near enough. Once the glue had hardened, a couple of hours sanding hid the worst of the joints. A thin abrasive strip was used to re-cut the chanels on the top of the little mans' head. We also needed a little filler on the collar. 

To check the joins were acceptable (a fairly low bar with this model as it's just for fun) I shot some car primer over the whole thing. This showed up a couple of areas requiring more attention, but overall, not too bad. I'm hoping the grey will provide a little pre-shading to the colours too, although a darker shade would be better for this. 

Anyway, now to paint.

Monday, November 21, 2022

Go on then, what did you buy?

Tradition demands that after a trip to a show, everyone posts pictures of the stuff they have bought all over social media. If you don't believe me, just watch any model railway Facebook group this time next week as it fills with "I bought this at Warley" stuff. It's the hunter-gatherers returning to the tribe and showing off thier spoils. 

Anyway, I went to two big shows and didn't come away empty-handed. 

Starting with the classic car show. 

VW lamp box

I didn't buy a car. Unless you count a Hot Wheels Baja Bug for three quid. There were plenty of stalls selling model cars, but none could furnish me with a Peugeot 206 sadly. I'd love a model of my old car. There was a possibility of a rally version, but aside from the amount of work required to turn it into a road car, the price was £40 more than I sold my real one for!

The blue box is a 1990s (I think) plastic case for a set of space light bulbs. It's a genuine VW thing and only cost me a tenner. One day, when one of my cars gets back on the road, it will be used to house the correct set of lamps that I always like to carry in the car. 

Moving on the IPMS show, things got a lot more serious. No-one treks all the way to Telford without plans to carry at least one box out with them. Looking at the crowd, it seems many were stocking up for a years worth of modelling, which makes sense as there's plenty to choose from. 

Tractor and money box

I had decided that a "proper" kit would be coming back with me. There was nothing specific in my head, a little impusle buying was in order. As you know, I like all sorts of modelling, so a railway kit wasn't on the cards, but anything else was. 

The proper purchase is a Mini-Art 1/35 scale kit for a Bulldog tractor. Lots of reasons for this - for a start, a Bulldog plays a pivotal role in my first novel. This was inspired by the prototype being part of the tractor collection on the farm my model boat and railway club are located on. Importantly, this is the sport version, as used in the book. Also, Mini-Art are based in Ukraine, and so this is a little bit of support. And many years ago, they sent me a load of building kits for mag projects. Oh, and they are really cracking kits too. 

A more random purchase is the ARII Ghost Box, and obselete (I think) operating money box kit. I've never built one, but it looks fun. There's a motor in there, so some operation is in store. 

Japanese kits

And then there is some weird stuff. One stand had some huge boxes of Japanese Manga (I think) kits for four quid a pop. I've never built anything like this, but you know I love the unusual, so I came away with three. They are completely useless to me, but hopefully, fun. That's what it's all about. 

Interestingly, I found myself in conversation with someone who jokingly suggested that the show was responsible for vast amounts of the infamous plastic waste we are all worried about. I reasured him this isn't the case. Plastic yogurt pots are a problem - used once and they end up in the bin after a life of a few days. Plastic kits are lovinly built and displayed, generally not being thrown away. And anyway, quite a lot of them end up on lofts acting as insulation...

Apart from this, there are a couple of whitemetal kits for a mag feature, a free aeroplane card kit from a blog reader (Thank you!), several boxes of knock-off Lego models for fun Christmas presents and a pack of Non Metalic metal paints for me to try. All good fun!

Sunday, November 20, 2022

IPMS Telford 2022

Bouncing bomb

Final stop for my fun weekend was Telford for the International Plastic Modellers Society exhibition. For the first time, I drove to the show, which meant there was a whole car to fill with kits...

The show has shrunk very slightly since the pre-Covid days, but the main change is that the competition models are now in hall 3. Since this is the first time ever for me seeing those, I wasn't going to complain. As it was, I'd have been sad to miss them, including the incredible Lancaster diorama seen above. That water effect looked every bit as as amazing in real life as it does in the photo. 

Since you ask, cast clear resin, wadding, golden gloss medium, Tamiya acrylics, Deluxe Materials Icy Sparkles, Micro Baloons, AK Snow Sprinkles, Woodland Scenics soft flake snow, Tamiya snow texture - and a whole lot of skill went into it. 

As is my wont, I largely ignored the military models, it's pretty much the only way I get around a show this big, but there was still loads to catch my eye, and camera. 

Brede lifeboat

This 1:20 scale Brede is possibly the best model I've seen of the class. Based on a Mountfield Models kit, I enjoyed a long chat with the builder who was happy to show me the detailed interior and how the radio control (yes, it's a working model) was fitted. Regular readers will know I've built a Brede to the same scale, so I'll not be rushing to buy a kit, but it was inspiring.

Churchill tank biscuits

Normally, the cake is a bit rubbish at Telford, but this year, thanks to the Churchill Tank SIG, things improved. While many stands gave away sweets, these guys had baked some delicious biscuits, and cut them to a suitable shape thanks to a cutter found on Etsy. 

To be honest, I could rattle on about this show all day, but my fingers are tired from typing, so head over to Flickr for a big photo dump full of good things.

Saturday, November 19, 2022

L&WMRS Open Day 2022

Cakes

Is it really wise to leave me, Phil Parker, in charge of the teabar when it is postivly groaning under the weight of cakes piled upon it? 

Once again, I'd volenteered to be tea boy at the club open day. It gives me something to do as I'm not attached to any of the layouts. Better filling up the kettle and resisting the delights on offer than hanging around like a spare part. As it was, even I'd never have eaten my way through everything as the members had been very generous. What you can't see, is that behind the camera, the top of the cooker is about two feet deep in donations. We managed the home baked stuff, but Thursday nights for at least a month will see members enjoying cake with their cup of tea. 

A highlight was seeing the first train on our new outdoor track running. The team behind this have done a terrific job this year. Eventually, there will be at least two circuits 90 yards long of 45mm gauge track. This will eventually be followed by a seperate 32mm gauge line. 

First train
 
A Roundhouse Harlech Castle performed the honours - steam has to wait until we've proper fire safety procedures in place. It was a good choice though, as the owner allowed some of the younger visitors to have a drive, which went down well. 

By the end of the day, we'd welcomed lots of visitors, three of whom signed up to become members, the object of the exercise. 

If you'd like to know more, visit the club website.


Friday, November 18, 2022

NEC Classic car show 2022

Matra Rancho with a Rancho fan beaming like a loon.

Last weekend was busy, and started on Friday with a trip to the Lancaster Insurance classic car show at the NEC. 

Now, I really wanted to go to this show. There was a sharp intake of breath at the £38 fee (it's cheaper on the weekend) and a bit of a rant at £1.95 to be sent the email with the ticket, but I reasoned I'd just have to suck it up. Let's face it, I don't do this every day and sometimes you have to buy memories. The ticket price came out of my holiday fund, since that doesn't seem to be being used much at the moment. If this was a model railway show though, popular web forums would melt down at that sort of figure. 

Anyway, I arrived at opening time and when through the door, spotted one of the cars for my dream garage - a Matra Rancho. Since I was there early, and most people had gone bargain hunting, there was a chance to have a good chat with the guys on the stand. And the chance to feel very jealous as one of them owns a bronze (the best colour) car, complete with the swivelly spotlights. Apparenlty, this IS a Rancho for sale, and they normally go for about £6000, which seems very reasonable for such a rare (only 6 on the road) vehicle. 

However, there is a Beetle and Type 2 ahead of the dream, so I moved on. To a Talbot Alpine, the first car I ever drove. But this one wasn't full of filler - I learnt a lot about Isopon on my parents car...

3500 mile Mk1 Ford Fiesta 

Talking of which, how about a Mark 1 Ford Fiesta with only 3500 miles on the clock? The first car I drove after passing my test, it's even the 950cc model, and not far off the right colour, a very easy to touch up grey. 

Lamar microcar 

With so many interesting vehicles to look at, one that sticks out in my mind is this Lamar Microcar. How ugly, and fascinating, is this? Narrow enough to go through a door, it looks a little unstable to me. 

Anyway, I arrived at 10am, left and 5:45 and only took a 20 minute lunch break. That's a lot of walking - 12615 steps on the hard NEC floor. None of the cars for sale tempted me (OK, maybe the Trabant) but there was a three-sided R Whites lemonade waste bin in the autojumbe area for £475. Too rich for me, and I'd gone by train so it would have been a nightmare to shift! 

It was a terrific day too. Plenty of good chats, including with a couple of railway contacts. Worth every penny. Oh, and there was cake, a delicious custard slice that made my hands too sticky to take a photo, so you'll have to take my word for it.

What you want is a photo-dump - here you go then. Enjoy this lot on Flickr.

Thursday, November 17, 2022

Uncoupling in the Hornby Collectors Club

 

It's time for another basics article in The Collector - house magazine of the Hornby Collectors Club.

This time, I take a look at uncoupling. Pretty much fundamental to a working model railway, and something that has cause me loads of grief on several BRM projects. Bacially, the standard tension lock coupling is fine to join up, but when you want to leave your train behind, forget it. For those of us who love to shunt, this is a problem.

So, I've taken a look at several different ramps, and manual spade-type devices. Even the ancient GEM ramps are tested, although mainly because they are easy to replicate from bits of plastic packing than expecting anyone else to have a packet. Actually, they work surprisingly well...

Hornby Collector Club

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Complete, but still fighting

 

Provendor Wagon

Well, the provendor wagon is built, and painted, and looks a bit rubbish. 

Despite gloss varnishing the sides, and applying lashings of Micro-Sol, the transfers haven't sat down properly and there's loads of silvering where air has been trapped underneath. 

The photo looks worse than real life, and a big part of the problem is almost certainly down to old, slightly dried up transfers, but I'm still a little grumpy about the whole thing. Maybe when I've cheered up a bit, I'll dig through my stocks of transfers (not decals) and see if there are some better GW ones in there. Ideally, some Methfix would be ideal as those don't have the transfer film. 

What I know, from bitter experience, won't cure things, is weathering. Adding dirt requires plank lines to the muck to occupy and right now, for much of the lettering, those are burried. It would actually make the model look worse!

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Chassis on

 


More lessons learned. Plain bearings fitted into the axleboxes. I even drill them out a little to deepen the hole. Both solebars are carefully shortened to fit, and amazingly, I manage to have the axles of the Hornby wheels (no, I'm not using the plastic ones supplied in the kit) perpendicular to sides so they run perfectly. 
 
Even the tie-bars survive my ministrations. Good, except that according to the instructions, they should be cut off...
 
Talking of the instructions, they appear to be duplicated from typed originals. I'm sure the last kit I built had less old-fashioned versions. Were they updated during the run? 
 
Provendor Wagon
Brake gear and buffers added, and the wagon is looking the part. All I need is paint, I can't go wrong now can I?

Monday, November 14, 2022

Return to the Provendor wagon

 

Back in May, I failed to build a Cooper Craft Provendor wagon. It's niggled at me ever since, so when an eBay search turned up another kit, I decided to have another go. 

Looking back at my blog post reminded me that one trick to this kit, is building the body first. I don't like doing things this way, as IMHO it's better to get the chassis working, but this time there isn't an option. 

As before, the floor has to be thinned on a sanding block, or it's too wide for the sides. Not a lot, probably no more than 0.2mm, but it makes a difference. 

After this, the sides are carefully attached, and weighted down to ensure the result is flat. Despite the instructions suggesting that sanding will be needed on the corners, they go together fine, probably because the plastic glue has softened the material enough that they can be pushed together without leaving a gap. 

Another improvement to my build technique is that everything will be left to harden before moving on. No rushing and dealing with squidgy joins. That means the body sits like this overnight. 

Tomorow, the chassis.

Sunday, November 13, 2022

Shut the door!

 Beetle 

What is it with people displaying their cars at classic vehicle shows? Why must they leave the doors open? 

The photo above demonstraites the point. Taken at the NEC classic car show on Friday (photo dump coming soon), it shows a lovely VW Beetle. But with every opening door flapping in the wind, the cars sleek lines are ruined. 

You can argue that they wish to show off the detailed under-bonnet area, with neatly hidden wiring and decorated fuel tank. At the back, we (apparenlty) want to see the engine. And why not show off those painted door shuts? 

Because, it ruins the look. In my mind, anyway. 

Ford Fiesta

Another one. Lovely Mark 1 Ford Fiesta with only 3500 miles on thye clock. I like it because a 950cc model like this, was the first car I drove on the road after passing my test. Even the colour is similar. But I can't really enjoy it because we have to look at the engine. Admitedly, this is of interest to anyone restoring a Fiesta, but it's not how the designer envisaged the car to look. You can't see out of the windscreen for a start. 

Bond Bug

Oh yes, the hinges work, but we could see in through the windows. And let's face it, the Bond Bug interior isn't something that takes a lot of looking like. 


We don't even really know what this is supposed to look like. It's not like there is another Lancia like it, after all. 

Is it too much to ask that cars look like cars when on display? Or am I just being grumpy?


Saturday, November 12, 2022

Saturday Film Club: Hague model village - 1955

A trip to Holland for a model village, complete with impressive railway, from 1955 thanks to Pathe News.

Friday, November 11, 2022

R30202 Hornby Collectors Club locomotive - 2022

 

R30202
The Tri-ang collector in me couldn't resist this. It's the 2022 Hornby Collectors Club loco - a lovely little tribute to 70 years of Tri-ang. 

OK, it's the cheapo 0-4-0 in a nice colour, but there is something appealing about it. Especially when I grabed the last one at the GBMRS for half price. And (whisper it) I'm not even in the collectors club! What a rebel I am. 

I'm pleasently surprised by how well the cheap locomotive runs when turned over with a 9v battery. These chassis used to be horrible, mainly thanks to the Scalextric gears they were fitted with, but this is incredibly smooth. OK, it's not Hornby Peckett smooth, but as good as many of my kit-built chassis. 

R30202

One thing that has changed over the years is a move to carboard inner trays. OK, there's some polythene to wrap the model, but with care, most of the box and packing is recyclable. Not that anyone ever throws away the boxes of these valuable collectables...

Of course, I couldn't resist sitting it next to the 1970s "Telephone" model based on a "Polly" tank engine. Mine has a special custom chimney gained when it fell off a shelf recently. I think it has a better dome than the newer model...


Thursday, November 10, 2022

Playmobil and a steamy Peckett in December's Garden Rail

 

Garden Rail December 2022

It's all action in our big layout feature this month. Playmobil trains mix it up with slot cars in a display that has been delighting kids of all ages at exhibitions for years. And since, it's December, what better time to celebrate the younger end of our hobby?

Back at the workbench we build a huge truss-girder bridge, add realistic checkrails and ballast to an outdoor line, and our Peckett project reaches its grand, steamy, finale.

All this, plus plenty of new products for the large-scale railway modeller. Something for the Christmas list perhaps?

Wednesday, November 09, 2022

Warehouse Wednesday: Rural workshops

 

While my car was being attended to by the Rutland Hand Car Wash team, I wandered around the back of the old garage they occupy, and spotted these rather nice, and very modelable, workshops. 

They don't look that old, and the basic design ought to make for an easy scratchbuild. Brick Plastikard walls and Wills corrugated asbestos roofs to my mind. Those sliding doors applied to the outside of the building wouldn't be hard to make either. 

OK, there's no great architectural merit here, but the world is full of these sort of anonymous buildings, which means our layouts should be too.

Tuesday, November 08, 2022

Mystery orange blinking thing

 

OK, another challenge. I bought this for pennies at Stafford show, from the dangerous second-hand stall. It was cheap, orange, and I wanted to know more about it. Rather then dig out the box contents like most people would, I handed over some cash (OK, added it to the pile of stuff I was buying) for future investigation. 

Inside, we have an orange box, some lamps, a bit of wire, and a diagram. It appears that there are many options for flashing light combinations. I still can't work out why you'd use them though. 

Inside the box, there's some serious circuitry, but no relay as I was expecting. 

So, I'm not really much the wiser. Anyone got an idea what this is, and where I could use it?

Monday, November 07, 2022

Great big, chocolate block

 

Electrical chocolate block
Two lengths for a quid. Bargain. You probably think this is just normal electrical "chocolate block" connectors, but these are the largest examples I've ever seen. Each one is 155mm in length. 

What I don't understand, is why it exists.

These massive metal connectors will happily accept some serious bits of wire, almost 5mm in diameter by the look of it. The thing is, if you are using wires that fat, they much be carrying some serious current. So, surely there has to be a better, and more secure, way to join such wires up? 

Sunday, November 06, 2022

The Great British Model Railway Show 2022

Leader in for repair

A busy weekend. My usual position at the top of the escalators - where there isn't any electricity - was filled with projects. Fewer than last year because I gave the DHAPR Wagon works a trip out and it takes up most of the table. 

On the other side was my 009 micro, "The Handyman Hall Railway", which didn't want to work due to a combination of dead batteries and iffy loco. Work to do there obviously as it's a useful little layout. 

Anyway, Firday evening saw me recruited by KR Models to stick a chain cover back on their Leader model. A few minutes with superglue, and I was rewarded with some rather nice free pens. 

Saturday passed in a bit of a blur. Lots and lots of chat, with several beginners coming over to ask some good basic questions. Hopefully, I provided useful answers and they have gone home to start building things. 

Sunday started slower, but picked up and I managed to have a quick look around. Not very long though, so thanks to my Dad for taking photos for me, as well as covering so I could go to the toilet! 

All of which means I didn't see much of the event, but a couple of layouts stuck in my mind - O gauge "Woolfe Lowe" which I'm in the process of arranging to shoot for BRM, and David Wright's amazing diorama, "Raven's Ravine" featuring his superb buildings, and a couple of dragons. I've already shot this for the mag...

Cake - excellent slated caramel cake from the cafe. Highly recomended. Mind you, the boys from West Hill Wagon Works, know how to feed themselves during a show too!

West Hill Wagon Works cake run

There was even time for a little work, shooting the new Hornby TT range, Paytrains buildings and steam effect Flying Scotsman. 

Horby TT 08 diesel

The TT looks good, especially the 08. I could really fancy building something around one of these...

More photos over on Flickr.