Saturday, April 13, 2024

Saturday Film Club: Weather an N gauge wagon

Another BRMTV video released to the wider population, this time weathering an N gauge wagon.

Friday, April 12, 2024

Painty feet


My imagination has let me down for a post today, so have a picture of my painty feet after another session slapping trade emulsion on the walls and ceiling of our clubrooms. I've graduated from white paint to magnolia!

Thursday, April 11, 2024

An American theme to May's issue of Garden Rail

Garden Rail May 2024

A 100-year-old model railway? The Fairplex Garden Railroad was established in Los Angeles in 1924 as part of a model boat display. Now it is home to over 10,000 feet of G gauge track, and some stunning scenery, operated by a trained team of volunteers.

On the workbench, we have:

  • Building a trestle bridge
  • Anglicising Bachmann's “Big Hauler”
  • 3D printing an Irish railcar
  • Making a DHR van
  • Painting people
  • Scratchbuilding GVT coaches

Plus, all the latest Product News for the garden railway enthusiast.

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Holdy foldy


There's an odd pair of half-etched lines on the inside of the splashers. They confused me, and the instructions didn't really help much. Eventually, I worked out that the brass in the middle is at 45 degrees to the flat top, with the rest poking downward. Not seen this before, but as I've said before, this is an unusual design. 

Forming these also foxed me for a while. It looks a bit like a job for some thin pliers, until I realised that my Hold'n'Fold was within reach. It has a tongue that is ideal to hold them while bending. 

This is a useful tool, when it's useful. Most of the time I'm fine with some flat bladed, square ended pliers. They are less of a faff to use than the H&F where you have to position the part, screw the tongues down, and then do the bending. I mean, I've seen people using these things when demonstrating at shows, and think they use them all the time because they have spent the not incosiderable sum to buy the thing in the first place. 

But, it IS a useful too. Perhaps the other benefit is that it slows you down and allows thinking time, which will lead to better modelling. Apparenlty. Or maybe it's just a badge that says, "I am a SERIOUS modeller"...

Tuesday, April 09, 2024

Ivor's footplate

Yes, I've finally returned to the Ivor the Engine build, or at least managed to find an evening to devote to it. 

We're moving on to the body, I want to have some of it assembled to check the drive unit will fit inside, before putting the motor/gearbox into the chassis. 

This all starts by bending up the footplate. It's interesting to see how the designer has had to cope with this somewhat unconventional design. At this stage, it's all a bit floppy, apart from the buffer beam, which makes up into a nice box. Soldering with my 45W iron is going well, no need to resort to the gas iron yet.I think the amount of brass will demand this fairly soon though.

Monday, April 08, 2024

The garden railway lives!


While I was swanning around in York, my Dad got down the the job of track cleaning on our garden railway. After a bit of work, he polished the rail tops with a mild abrasive, enough that locos would move!

All the work clamping the track together really seems to have paid off. By Monday, we had a loco running around the full circuit. There is a bit of tinkering to do on the points, some rails aren't getting the electricity we would like, but nothing a bit of momentum from the loco can't solve at the moment. 

Hopefully, a little adjustment, and we can move on to ballasting, which will hold the track in place, and level, so I can run steam engines on it!

Sunday, April 07, 2024

York 2024


York is a funny show. In many ways, the event I attended could have been from the 1990s, or at least 2000's. The feel would be similar, the trade not that different, and the quality of layouts, just as good. In many ways, York show is like a comfy pair of slippers. 

Which is why I make the effort to go every year. I love it. 

You could argue that although it's an important event, it's not a mainstream show. You won't find a big box-shifter for example. The local retailer, Monk Bar Model shop, provides the nearest to that role. 

It's not a specialist show like Railex either. The trade is mostly for the hands-on modeller, but apart from Connoisseur Models, there aren't loads of loco kit suppliers. This is a modellers show, but suitable for the average modeller. 

I arrived when the doors opened, and left 15 minutes before chuck-out time. Apart from a coffee break with a mate, where I ate the best custard doughnut I've ever consumed, I was walking, and looking, and chatting to people. For once, I was just a punter. I paid to go in, and felt I received excellent value for money. 

Layoutwise, lots caught my eye, but a couple of special mentions.


Trerice is the late Iain Rice's model of some Cornish clay dries. Dating from the 1990s, it still looks really good to me. Partly, this is because (as I bang on about a lot) the who layout is to a consistent standard. Those wagons, from his seminal books on the topic, aren't as detailed as a modern £35 one, but it really doesn't matter. 

The modelling is excellent, but close enough to my own, that I feel if I ignore the P4 track, I could just about do something similar. With a lot of care and work. But that's the point, and Iain's great strength, that he made you realise that YOU could build this. And make you want to too.

Hudson Street

Hudson Street is the layout I'd like to build from the show. In fact, there is a very good chance I might do something along these lines later this year. 

It is a shrunken and slightly simplified model of the good fascilities found inside the York city walls - the entrance for which is still there. A cramped site, the model is full of action and life, which really appeals to me. 

All in all, another excellent show. Part of me would have liked more than a day to enjoy it, but I also relished the chance to spend a day in the city on the Saturday, with the trip to the show, and drive home, on the Sunday. All being well, I hope I get to repeat the experience next year. 

Plenty of layout photos from York 2024 on Flickr. If anything catches your eye, drop me an email, and I'll try to provide more details.

Saturday, April 06, 2024

Saturday Film Club: Modelling rope

The BRM DVD may be a thing of the past, but we still make videos for BRMTV, which subscribers get a link to every four weeks. Once in a while, one of the films is given a more general release, which is why I can feature it here.

Friday, April 05, 2024

Friday fun: Build the Flying Scotsman

Stuart at Locomotion knows me well enough to realise that if he stuffs one of their latest products in my hand, I'll go away and build it. The product in question being a Lego-style brick model of "Flying Scotsman". Which I built and videoed. 

I know "proper" enthusiasts will be up in arms, but this stuff pays for keeping the real locos in a way that people who wander into the NRM, take some photos and leave without making a donation don't.

Thursday, April 04, 2024

A railcar tribute to John Webb


A mixture of circumstances, sees me add a GWR railcar from Kernow Models to my collection. The main driver for this being it reminding me of the stunning EM gauge Midland railcar, built by my late friend John Webb. His model was scratchbuilt, and the valve gear looked like something a watchmaker would put together. Now in the care of another friend, who has a suitable layout to run it on, a good home for it. 

However, I can now have something similar. It's even nearly the right livery - if you squint and lower your standards a bit. OK, it's maroon, but that's as close as I get. 

The model is very nice, and runs well on the little layout I've been taking to shows. 

In fact, I can see this being a reasonably useful model. When I need some passenger stock for a photo, it's going to be standing in!

The model is good, but not perfect. The buffers are sprung, but also rotate a little. Despite my best efforts, they always look wonky in pictures. A dot of superglue will fix this, at the price of unspringing them. I can live with that. 

There are some bufferbeam steps made from plastic which seem to stick out at odd angles. One of the front ones was really mad, but tweaking it back, the thing snapped off and now lives in the packet with the details. I'm not sure this can be fixed as there is little area for glue on the spindly support. Do I replace it with a metal one, or just cut the other off to match? 

For now, this is a lovely model. Yes, I still plan to finish the kit-built version one day, but that can be painted in BR blood'n'custard livery with some weathering. Not a paint job Kernow are likely to offer, along with Network Souteast. Yes, I did ask. 

Wednesday, April 03, 2024

Warehouse Wednesday: Woodsmill Quay

Woodsmill Quay

I can't go to York without admiring Woodsmill Quay. Other than being built in the 19th century, the internet seems light on history, or even old photos. A show of the building restoration that doesn't show much being all I can find. 

Still, it has potential as a model. I'd add some tracks along the quayside (ignoring the regular flooding) to make things a bit more interesting.

Tuesday, April 02, 2024

Spotting on York station

York Station 30th April 2024

There's been precious little personaly modelmaking going on recently, but I have been up to York for the exhibition at Easter. More on this on Sunday, but in the meantime, a few random shots taken at the station on Saturday.

York Station 30th April 2024

All are straight from my mobile phone, without tinkering. Impressive, as it was dark outside so we only had the station lights to work with.

York Station 30th April 2024

These are, like every other photograph, moments in time. Five years from now, things may well look different, with new stock and liveries on show. York station certainly has changed over the period I've known it - less track for a start, and a lot more places to buy food. The only travel office is now a Sainsbury's, travel info now being available from an office on the platform.

York Station 30th April 2024

Monday, April 01, 2024

Messy fun at railway club


"What did you do on Good Friday Phil?

I helped to paint the ceiling in our model railway clubrooms. And, as you can see, it was a messy job, or at least it is when I do it. 

When people talk about model railway clubs, they often assume that you need to be some sort of expert modeller to join one. That's not the case. Sometimes, the most useful person in a club, is the one who hangs on to the other end of a piece of wood while someone else is sawing it. Or, can work a roller when the ceiling needs painting. 

I've mentioned before that we are in the middle of a massive refurbishment. The ceiling in question is the underside of a whole new floor we are putting in to increase the space in our clubrooms. A situation forced on us by an expanding (in numbers, not waist sizes!) membership. 

Anyway, I've been ashamed that work has been too busy for me to get involved. Well, ashamed, and jealous of the team who got to put the steelwork in, 'cos that looked fun. At least I can put a few hours in with the paint, and feel I've done a bit. 

If you'd like to know more, we have a YouTube channel with some entertaining videos documenting the process.