Saturday, December 31, 2022

Review of 2022 - The work projects

So. What have I been up to at work this year? Too many projects to list here, but let's have a look at some of my favourites. 

The Peckett


Early in the year, Graham Langer at Accucraft, offered me the chance to build one of their new kits for a 16mm scale, live steam, Peckett. The idea was to show that a non-engineer could assemble the model.

I'll be honest and say, no project has casued me concern like this one. This isn't a cheap kit, and I was going to have to build it in the full glare of publicity. In fact, that publicity was one of the conditions for the kit coming my way! Knowing how generous the offer was, I promised plenty of coverage in the magazine. All I needed to do was make a good job of it, and be entertaining for the readers along the way. 

Ultimatly, and thanks to a few friends I chatted to about building steam locos, the model was finished, and has turned out to be an absolutely superb runner. With the regulator cracked open only slightly, it trundles around smoothly and slowly. To say I am pleased is an understatement. 

Now, a "sensible" person would go an by this loco RTR. It's not that much more than the price of the kit after all. But if that's what I'd done, I wouldn't feel so proud of the loco. It's a pride that only someone who have built a model can really understand. Someone asked if now the project is completed, I'd be selling the loco - my answer wasn't particually polite, but can be summed up in a single word - No!

This isn't the end of the project. I fancy radio control and know how this can be achieved for the regulator. It also deserves a run at the NGRS on the "Layout in a day". After that, well, it will hopefully be my loco of choice to take out to other lines for a run, partly so readers can see and talk about the model they have seen in the magazine. 

Layout in a Day

Sticking with the Garden Rail theme, back in June I built another layout in a day at the National Garden Railway Show. Ever keen to make each version bigger and better, this year we had two circuits and it looked so good that I want to repeat the design in 2023. 

One lesson though - on a hot day, the tweed jacket isn't a great idea. I was absolutely knackered by mid afternoon, with the prospect of packing the whole thing in the back of the car to come. Despite this, people really enjoyed my efforts, and that makes it all worthwhile. Once I'd recovered that is. 

DAHPR Wagon works


At some point in 2021, I had asked the BRM team if we needed another project layout for the magazine. The answer was yes, and somehow this became yes, and we need it to debut at Ally Pally show. 

With a short deadline, I kept things reasonably simple with a modern (ish) take on a wagon repair works along the lines of the one at Long Marsdon. The concept worked, and thanks to the generousity of West Hill Wagon Works, the modelling looked good with loads of thier excellent 3D printed accesories to be found. 

After Ally Pally, the model made an appearance at Gaydon, for the Great British Model Railway Show, and on our new-look stand at Warley. I'm pleased to say, people really liked the model and there are photos on many, many 'phones out there. 

Layout in a Box refurbishment

Another quick project, rapidly following on from DAHPR. With wories about the cost of living in mind, I reworked my old "Casket Yard" project. The scenery was scraped off, and replaced with a selection of warehouses from JS Models. 

A major transformation was completed with a new lighting rig and facia to finish off the model, things that weren't required in the original version. 

Ramshackle workshop

A simple build this one, but the results were good. The moment I spotted Metcalfe Models "Ramshackle workshop" kit, I knew I wanted to have a play with one and perform a few upgrades. A design full of character, a little tickling up would really pay dividends. 

Project like this take more work than you really see on the page. Three hours of scribing stones appear in a single photo, but I know this and do my best to factor it in when suggesting the project. 

Once on the page, it was great to quickly recieve photos from three different modellers who had carried out their own take on my project. This makes it all worthwhile - if I can inspire someone to build a model, then I'm doing my job properly. 


There are, of course, many more projects from this year, but these are a small selection that stick in my mind. All being well, next year will see ever more models added to my pile. With a bit of luck, some of these will start to appear on future BRM stands too. With this in mind, if there are any you would like to see "in the flesh", let me know ahead of the event, and I'll see what I can stick in the car.


Friday, December 30, 2022

150 Years of Manx Railways by Barry Edwards and Richard Kirkman


150 Years of Manx Railways by Barry Edwards and Richard Kirkman
I so nearly entitled this post, "The best Isle of Man book in the world, ever." The only reason I didn't is for Google's benefit. 

But, it's true. My father and I own a lot of books covering Mona's Isle. Mainly railways, but a few on other island realted topics. So many, that there are a few examples of duplicates because we have different editions. Even, most of the oddball pamphlets are on the shelf. We are that nerdy about it all. 

When a new book comes out, we'll buy it unseen. Spotting this one on Facebook (I think), I expected nothing more than a book of pretty photos. This would have been fine, but that's not what landed. 

Starting with the basics: A4. Hardback. 192 glossy pages. Both monochrome and colour photos. 

The thing that marks this book out as different, is the scope. Inside you don't just find the existing railway and tramway systems, the authors have gone to the trouble of researching those that long ago vanished into history, and one that didn't happen at all. 

So, we have The Knockaloe Branch, Port Erin Breakwater Railway, Corrins Hill Tramway, Glenfaba Brickworks Railway, Cunningham Camp Escalator, Poortown Quarry Tramway and many others. All in 26 different lines. Some warrant a single page, others a lot more. To be honest, many are little known and there are very few photos available. 

150 Years of Manx Railways by Barry Edwards and Richard Kirkman

The IoM is well covered by literature, but apart from a single listing in the Manx Steam Railway News, I have never seen such a comprehensive selection. There are railways in here I didn't know about, and some that I will one day seek out on a visit to the island. In terms of potential modelling subjects, there's plenty of options on offer, all of which won't be touched by the RTR boys!

Opening with an overview of the islands transport systems, which includes some very well-drawn maps, we quickly move on to each in turn, starting with the steam railway. Photos seems to span the years well, obviously there are plenty of modern shots because these will have been taken digitally, and are easy to source and use. Lots of other though, and all are well-reproduced, perhaps with a touch too much HDR, but not enough to worry. 

At the back there is a stock list covering all lines as well as possible. Early lines are tricky as records aren't that great, but I'd be hard pushed to argue with the authors efforts. 

If you like the Isle of Man, or just love unusual transport sytems, this needs to be on your bookshelf. 

Thursday, December 29, 2022

More light in BRM


I'm sticking with road vehicle lighting in February's issue of BRM. Last month I used LEDs, but now it's time for fibre optic cables. Once seen a a very futuristic bit of kit, they have noww been usurped in many people's eyes by micro electronics. However, they still have a place, especially if you'd like to keep the light source away from the rest of the model. After all, once you fit a fibre opitic cable, it can't break down unless you cut it!

My camera got some use at DEMU this year, when I spotted something innovative and N gauge - Ryecroft Arena. 

Ryecroft Arena

This micro layout really gets the feel of an inner city station sandwiched in the middle of a collection of modern, large, buildings. The tight space is perfect for multiple unit trains, and the only option (albeit a good one) if you have a collection, but no room for even a modest size layout. 

Finally, on BRM TV, I build a tea hut. 

It's the basic Wills plastic kit, which dates from a period many of our readers won't remember, but there's nothing wrong with it despite this. I take viewers through the entire build, something that takes longer than I expected, but if the format works, I can see use doing similar projects in the future. 

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Playmobil radio control diesel


Playmobil shunter
One of the joys of working from home is spotting ebay alerts when they drop into my InBox. Most of the time, the deletion process takes a few seconds, but every so often there is something good. Such as an excellent condition Playmobil diesel. 

Introduced in 2012/13 (according to Walt's excellent webste), this diesel was part of the range that replaced the original LGB-based items when metal track full of electricity was deemed unsafe for children. Plastic track is good, but it means the G scale locos have to be powered by batteries, and controlled by radio. 

This is good news for garden railway buffs, and they are perfect for dead-rail setups, or when you want to make a train move without faffing with controllers, or steam engines. That point when young visitors arrive and a well-meaning member of the family suggests they would like to see a train. Generally, the young visitor maintains interest for about 20 seconds, so no-one wants to spend hours preparing. 

Anyway, I spotted this beauty on sale for a very reasonable £70 as a "Buy it now" and snapped it up. A few days later, the model arrived, and I took it down to the club to test on the new track. Then, later in the day, I took it down with the controller I'd forgotten, and gave it a run. In the dark.

First impressions are good. It's heavy, 1.1kg, and the pizza cutter wheels mean it should handle most track. The Cliff Barker stuff at the club is perhaps a little fine, but we are getting away with it. Range from the 2.4gHz controller is easily enough for out massive circuit and control is easy. 

Top speed isn't too high, so on open days we'll be happy to let kids try drive, it is a toy after all. 

Best of all, the sound is brilliant. There's a start-up sound effect, just like those hundred-quid sound cards in DCC models. It has a horn and lights. 

OK, the detail is Playpeople level, not finescale. I could do some work on this, but probably won't. The shape is nice for a modern locomotive though. 

Dimensions: 260mm long over buffers, is 105mm wide, and 145mm

Best bit: Normal batteries. 6AA in the loco and a PP3 in the controller, so no special chargers to lose. 

OK, it's not finescale, or serious, but a useful bit of kit for the garden railway fan who has stock with LGB couplings. I can see our "Toy Train" range wagons being hauled by this, and looking great.

Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Boxing Day sail


2 model boats

Another festive tradition - while, according to breakfast TV, the good people of Liverpool were hammering on the doors of the shops (at 7am!) I decided that the only sail I was interested in again, was at the model boat club. 

Knightcote Model Boat Club

The lake is currently as maximum capacity thanks to recent rain. It was also dead calm, and the only weather problem was too bright, and low a sun. Moving to the shelter solved this, and apart from one corner of the water, I could clearly see what I was doing. 

The boats chosen were Mis-Cheif and Felix - both known to be reliable and a joy to sail. Aiming for a relaxing day, I wasn't in the mood for a trickier vessel, and the lack of modelling this year means there isn't a 2022 boat for me to bring out. Maybe in 2023. 

Felix isn't a fast boat by any means, but the bow wave was sufficient to get a bit of water slopping noisily down the overflow pipe. Not to worry, more rain is promised to replenish the levels. At the moment, the lake looks as big as it can. In theory, this means we are less likley to find the bank with a boat, although I demonstraited this was only a theory last week...

A couple of hours fresh air, and seperation from tempting foodstuffs. Just what I needed!

Monday, December 26, 2022

Steam (and cake) at Rowington

Rowington steam

John Sutton's pre-Christmas steam event at Rowington might only be a village hall do, but it's rapidly becoming an important event in the large-scale calendar. OK, there are only two layouts, three if you include the Wuppertal monorail, but the trade is impressive. 

John Sutton Models, Black Cat Bridges, Chuffed2bits, Garden Rail Ltd, Lineside Hut (their last show before retirement), Bole Laser Craft and Boot Lane Work, were all in attendance. That's a pretty good spread of goodies on offer, just in time for some festive present buying. 

My highlight was the chance to give my Peckett a run on the 16mm scale layout. 

Peckett running

While it eventually steamed beautifully, a lesson was learned. If you leave a loco in a cold car for a couple of hours, clearing the condensate out of the cylinders is a bit of a job. After dragging it up and down the track, with wheels not moving (and recieving "helpful" advice from an onlooker to do exactly what I was doing, even when it plainly wasn't working) I turned the gas off and rotated the wheels by hand a couple of revolutions. Gas back on, she eventually headed off around the track at a nice, sedate pace. People were actually impressed!

Cake-wise, I had a nasty shock. Chatting to the previously considered lovely people at Bole Laser*, they claimed to have bought the last three slices! To be fair, I was offered one, but declined out of politeness. 

Anyway, while steaming up, I sent my Dad off to get some tea. And he played a blinder.

Steam loco and cake

Some delicious "under the counter" chocolate cake! That's a result. The Merlin Mayflower isn't mine by the way, but it has given me some ideas for my own model. 

A lovely event with loads of chat. These smaller shows are very freindly, and anyone who only goes to a big bash, is really missing out. 

Little Phil at the TR

*I have forgiven them as I now have a couple of review builds for Garden Rail.

Sunday, December 25, 2022

Merry Christmas


Speedboat with Santa

Merry Christmas to all the readers of Phil's Workbench!

Saturday, December 24, 2022

Saturday Film Club: Christmas locomotive cake

I like trains and I like cake, so for this festive video, how about making a loco shaped cake? 

Fascinating so see the specialist tools used, and I wodner how edible the result is? There's a lot of card in there, and gum glue. Can you eat that? 

Far better, I suspect, to sit back and listen to the soothing music while watching someone skilled at work.

Friday, December 23, 2022

It's time for the festive Lego!

Lego (and Playpeople) festive group

As the big day appraoches, it's time to build the festive Lego again. Every year, I take the sets apart so when the decorations come out, I can put them together again.

This year, the Elves and little Santa have been joined by a big Santa (Set 40206), which I'd forgotten I owned.

Lego 40206 Santa

And from a recent trip to London for some beer, where I happened to visit the excellent Lego store, a Christmas Penguin (Set 40498).

Christmas is all about tradition, and building my decorations each year is one of mine. I hope you are all enjoying similar fun this year. 

Thursday, December 22, 2022

MRC Open Day


Copenhagen Fields

I like London on a Sunday. It's quieter, but most of the shops, especially in the run-up to Christmas, are still open. 

My reason for visiting was that The Model Railway Club were having an open day. OK, if I'm honest, this gave me the main hook to hang my trip on, but I also looked forward to strolling around Kings Cross and St Pancras, generally enjoying the capital in festive garb. 

Kings Cross Christmas tree

A warm welcome to the clubrooms saw me start with the test track area, where there were some new Heljan locos to poke and prod. The ES1 looks particually nice, although I understand that if you really know the prototype, it's the "wusrt model in the wurld evahhhh". Niggles aside, the announcement was a surprise, and handling the pre-production model, it felt solid. Only a lack of funds (OK, a lack of desire to allocate funds), and no real use for the thing, stops me owning one in the apple-green BR livery. 

Heljan ES1

There was also a second-hand stall that I bought a couple of items from to be polite (!). 

Upstairs though, I had the chance to meet a modelling hero. Back in the 80s (I think), Adrian Garner built some models of the Listowel and Ballybunion railway inconjunction with Colin Binnie who developed a kitchen table injection moulding machine that they used for the A-frames in the track. 

At the time, he also built the text loco used to promote the system. It made the front page of a magazine, which I still have, and to my great joy, that very model was sat in front of me. 

Listowel and Ballybunion loco built by Adrian Garner

Adrian was kind enough to take the glass case off so I could get some proper photos, and we chatted for ages about his modelling and I learnt some of the tales of how Colin developed his moulding skills. 

South American lauge monorail

Also present was his more recent model of a South Amercian use of the Lartigue Monorail system. Readers of Narrow Gauge and Industrial magazine a few years ago will remember the write-up. Both are fascinating models, and it was a real pleasure to have the chat. Worth the trip on its own!

PLA Layout

Downstairs, the rest of the MRC layouts were on show, including a very interesting Port of London layout in the early stages of construction, and of course, Coppenhagen Fields. But as I've taken enough photos of that this year, I didn't worry about many more...

A couple of hours well spent. Followed by a trip to Camden for more wandering and some food. Mind you, I found out that that's where all the crowds go in London when the rest of the place is quiet!

Camden Lock

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

The National Museum of Computing

A few miles from the centre of Milton Keynes, is another of those museums I've always fancied visiting. Since my time is my own, and I was down there already, the 20 minute drive seemed a sensible way to fill the afternoon. 

Bletchley Park was home to the now famous WW2 code breakers, and there is a museum specifically devoted to this work, but that wasn't what I'd come to visit. No, I wanted a bit more nostalgia, in the form of computers that were around in my youth. 

After a quick snack in the cafe (pre-packed sandwiches and mahoosive muffin), I paid my tenner and headed off into the hut. 

First stop is codebreaking teritory with The Bombe. Now, this is a terribly important electro-mechanical computer. The replica (all the originals were destroyed by order of Churhill) is incedibly impressive. Chatting to the person looking after it, I had a demo, but still don't really inderstand what it is, or how it worked. I'm sure if I treid harder, all would be revealed, but it's kit from another age and the only bit of the display that really grabbed me was the tools and methods used to re-create the machine. That's not a criticism of the display, it's just not really my thing. 

Mainframe computers

However, around the corner was very different. Proper mainframe machines. Probably less powerful than my phone, there is a terrific piece showing a 8 1/4 floppy disk and modern SD card memory capable ot hold the contents of 100,000 of the disks, and filling a room, this is what computers looked like when I was heading towards my O levels. At least, it's what business computers looked like. 

I remember having to study this stuff for Computer Studies (we were repeatedly reminded that programming was only 20% of the marks, and computer history was more important) and so was exited to see a Ferrite Core memory module for the first time in real life. The impressive thing is that volunteers are restoring these machines to working condition. 

Text adventure

You can get hands on with an early text adventure, in which I got lost in a forest. I can see how exciting these games would have been at the time though. Elsewhere you can try 1980s computers and games, plus a couple of arcade driving machines. All I proved was that I'm rubbish at computer games as usual, but that's not the point. 

BBC Doomsday project

Less taxing, but very interesting is something I didn't think existed in working format anymore - the BBC Doomsday project. Running on a BBC micro and reading a laserdisk, I remember trying one in a library when they were new in 1986. At the time, it was "the future" but in the end, became a bit of a dead end. Reading through some of the entries, one problem was that they were created by schoolchildren, and as such aren't particually detailed, or even interesting today. A shame, but it's still good that someone gave it a go. 

RM 380Z and 480Z

Looking at various home computers from the 1980s was great. Spectrums, ZX81's and some Commodore stuff of course, but also the Research Machines 380 and 480Z's we had at school. Also some of the rarer domesitic stuff that I recall, but am not sure I've ever seen for real. Anyone remember the One-per-Desk?

Moving on, there are displays showing how the interweb works and also a lot of air traffic control machines plus plenty of other bits and pieces. Everything is a reminder that all this new and shiny technology eventually ages, and becomes little more than junk to many people. 

The whole place has the (welcome) air of something being run by keen enthusiasts. People who just like old IT kit. I loved it, and will defintely go back in the future. 

The National Museum of Computing website. 

Punchd card


Tuesday, December 20, 2022

National Film and Sci-fi museum


Sci-fi museum

While my modelling recently has been non-existant, I have taken a few trips out and about. Sometimes to places not involving trains!

First up - The National Film and Sci-fi museum in Milton Keynes. 

Handily, it's in the main shopping centre which includes some very reaonable parking. Admitedly, you do need to note down where you left the car, or spend 20 minutes wandering around trying to find it, but for 50p and hour, I can live with that. 

The museum is on the first floor of a unit and costs around £13 to go in. The actual pricing is a bit confusing, but that's what I paid as a walk-up. For that you can browse the collection as long as you like, but photos can only be taken at designated points. 

Dr Who area

I'm not quite sure why there is this restriction, partly I suspect so people actually get through rather than spending all their time taking pictures. Also, because they need people in the door, and many would be happy not to see the props on display for real, if they can look at a photo for free. No, I don't get it either. 

Anyway, we kit off with the Indiana Jones series, after which we see Star Wars, Star Trek, Dr Who, Space 1999 and too many others to mentions. Props are grouped and reasonably well labeled. If Star Trek costumes are your thing, then the display of these is massive. 

It always fascinates me just how crude a lot of these things are, and as a modeller, I find the details fascinating. For example, both the Imperial gunners, and rebel troops have the same "radio" pod on the side of their helmets. Obviously a vac-formed lump that was used everywhere by the costume department. 

There's also a huge display of Star Wars memorabilia, including some pencil cases that I rememeber from my school days and brought back a blast of nostalgia. They also had some Droid Factories, the only item in the range that ever appealed to me, something else I remembered. 

I wandered for a couple of hours, helped by having the place largely to myself, and really enjoyed it. It helps if you remember late 70s and early 80s films and TV. This is a chance for some proper nostalgia, and if you recognise nothing but the Harry Potter stuff, it won't be nearly as fun. For those who know what a puppet from the Dark Crystal looks like though, it's a fun trip.

National Film and Sci-fi museum website. 


Monday, December 19, 2022

Festive Zoom shelves


Phil Parker

We've been recording a review of the year, remotely. 

Behind me for video calls, I have a set of shelves, which are decorated with large scale model locos. I think it makes me look a bit more interesting. Certainly better than the sort of books idiot politicians like in their background, which they obviously haven't read. 

For Christmas, I've redecorated the shelves with festive models - a HGLW rail mounted Santa sleigh, US operating dwarves sawing wagon and an LGB Harlequin loco

And I wore a hat. In case you hadn't noticed.

Sunday, December 18, 2022

Free card kits from Canon

Picked up from a model boat forum, is seems Canon want to encourage us to use a lot of printer ink - and to do this, they have provided a massive library of free to download kits.

Head to Canon Creative Park

There are boats, trains and cars plus loads of other stuff. Some for begineers, some that will require more modelling skill. All very impressive. There are a few I'd like to have a go at!


Saturday, December 17, 2022

Saturday Film Club: Cat in films

I know it's not modelmaking, but these videos have been amusing me a lot recently. Basically, take a popular film and replace some of the cast with cats. A simple idea, and technically amazing. There's even a behind the scenes video to explain it all.

Sunday, December 11, 2022

Time for a break


Time for a break
There's not been a lot (any) modelling going on around here for a while, and for various reasons, my ability to invent interesting things to post about has dried up. Rather than stress about it, I'm going to take a few days off. 

Sorry about this, try randomly clicking in the right hand bar for older projects. You can't have read ALL the posts can you? Thanks, and see you soon.

Saturday, December 10, 2022

Saturday Film Club: Building an Albatros D5 aeroplane

I've had a go at building a balsa and dope kit in the past, and it sort of worked OK, but the idea of filming the process in stop-motion while assembling the parts is beyond my skillset. Amazing to watch though.

Friday, December 09, 2022

Panlos Brick Nisan


We all love a bargain, and when I was offered four Panlos Brick kits for a tenner at the IPMS show, I couldn't resist. Three will be heading out as fun Christmas presents, but I couldn't resist keeping one for myself. Partly because I like making things, but also due my curiosity about "knock-off Lego". 

It's a big box - good as a present - but with a lot of space filled with cardboard. At the show, I was glad I had the car because lugging a stack of these around all day would have lessened my pleasure a lot.

Surely is is over-the-top? It's not like the bricks will be damaged if the box is dropped. Lots of bags contain all the parts. Presumably they split the car up into stages, but I just opened them out in once go. Because I am a rebel and not going to let The Man tell me what to do!

The instructions are comprehensive, showing which bricks you need for each stage. Pay attention to this and don't move on until you have used them all. Working out exactly where they all go is a bit of an observation test. I'd say this isn't suitable for young children, it's surprisingly hard work. 

You can build two different models - a robot and the car. I thought I'd have a go at the robot first, but got horribly confused and gave up. It looks a bit rubbish IMHO, anyway, the car is the star. 

Exactly which car? Not sure, although I'm sure someone will be able to work it out. I originally thought Porche, but there are "Nisan" badges in there. Presumably, dropping an S avoid a visit from copyright lawyers. 

Anyway, after about 90 minutes hard, but satisfying, thinking, the car was finished. Brick fit was excellent. The plastic seems slightly more brittle than the Danes supply, but I can't complain about the grab, this isn't going to fall apart easily. 

Panlos Brick Nissan

The Chinese assume you want more building than the boys from Denmark do too. The minifig needs you to fit both legs, arms and hands to him. 

For the money, this was great fun. Looking at the box, there is a proper Porche on offer, in a fantastic shade of orange. If that had been on offer, I'd have grabbed one of those! 

Never mind, three lucky people will be recieving a reasonable sized box for Crimbo. I just hope they aren't cursing me when it comes to assembly time!

Panlos Brick Nissan

Thursday, December 08, 2022

O gauge magnificence in Garden Rail


Garden Rail January 2023

We've gone for a smaller scale than normal for Garden Rail's lead layout - but it's a rare treat to visit modeling master Alan Brackenborough's line. As you'd expect, the trains are astounding and he's taken full advantage of the space to run full-length O gauge formations. 

On the workbench, we finish the Peckett build, assemble a coach kit and discover how to make your own figures. There's also both signalling and point control plus a budget build of a Crosley diesel. 

All this, and the latest news of products to tempt the large scale model railway enthusiast.

Wednesday, December 07, 2022

Essel Engineering chassis

Essel Engineering Chassis
Picked up at the 3CAG group show, this is an Essel Engineering Chassis. Ready to run, it's a heafty bit of kit at 700g in weight thanks to all-metal construction. I've wanted to play with one for some time and was just looking out for a suitable project. Then this appeared for just under half price, so we have a solution looking for a problem.

Powered by a 380 sized motor through a gearbox and then onto the axle with beveled gears, the chassis runs smoothly, and not too fast when fed with a 9v PP3 battery. 

G scale chassis

My bargain has obviously been fitted to something, judging from the extra brass bracket it's aquired. I had to do a little tweaking with an Allan key too to fix a crank and set the gauge to 45mm. Nothing taxing, but offputting if you've not done this sort of job before. I took a while to work out when the thing kept stalling at one point on the revolution, and I've fettled many a model railway chassis!

So, what to do with it? In the past, plans have involved an IP Engineering "Shelley" - but the one in our collection now has the proper chassis.  

Now, I'm thinking that a powerful battery-powered diesel would be useful. Something along the lines of Roundhouse Engineering's Bulldog would do the job. I'd need to shorten this chassis, and mock a body up in card. Then, some brass sheet for the finished model to produce something as strong as the underpinnings. A design will be required as the wheelbase is 78mm and Bulldog is (I think) shorter then this. I'd like to be vaugely prototypical, so am open to ideas if anyone wants to drop something in the comments.

Tuesday, December 06, 2022

3 CAG area group exhibition 2022

3Cag banner

From one of the largest shows, to one of the smallest. At the L&WMRS open day, someone mentioned a garden railway show in Hinkley, but I didn't realise where it was until the 3CAG (Three Counties Area Group) of the G scale society newsletter appeared in my in-box. 

Taking place on Friday evening and all day Saturday, I decided to head over on the Friday so I could do a little social media for Garden Rail once back at home. To be honest I hadn't expected much, but am really getting into the smaller events. These are where you find things you've not seen before.

Arriving at the church hall, the first person I bump in to is John Sutton, and we chatted for a while whilst our noses were asailed with the smell of sausage rolls being cooked. Eventually, I went to investigate and enjoyed not just this, but a crumpet and mug of tea. 

Clyde Puffer

In the canteen area was a nice G scale layout that normally lives in the owners shed, and is the sort of indoor layout a lot of people would dream about. Enough space to let your smaller LGB trains circulate as you watch them pass by. 

Moving to the main hall, there were more layouts, and more trade. Once stand even had piles of Peco cardboard coach interiors for Kitmaster coaches!

Heading upstairs provided the biggest surprise of the event. A massive Playmobil layout.


This lives in the owners loft, there are holes in the boards for the joists. Apparently, it has been exhibited in the past, and is booked into the Warwick show next year, and Warley. This will be something to see if it happens, although I'm not sure how the two-day setup will work at the NEC. 

35 years old, the model is a sea of plastic with several trains running. It's so detailed (is that the right word?) that you'd need to study the model for ages to spot everything. Playmobil nerds will spot quite a few rare items too, although I'll admit that my knowledge is limited to some of the trains. 

These weren't the only layouts of course. For a small show, there was a lot to enjoy. Maybe not the highest quality modelling, but real fun. Model railways can be as much about the people and the chat as they are about rivets - and all the better for it. 

More photos from the show on Flickr. 

The Three Counties Group website