Saturday, 31 October 2015

Before and After, Opinions Needed


I have taken a couple of the wagons that have been mentioned in previous blogs and subjected them to a bit of weathering. This time though, I have changed my approach and tried out a selection of the newish Humbrol washes to see what sort of results I can achieve.

Below are a couple of photos showing before (left) and after (right) to show what I have achieved. Now before I carry on with the remaining wagons I thought it would be wise to post this and canvass everyones opinion first. Apologies for the not-so good quality photos but hopefully you can get a good enough idea on what they look like.

So, what do you think?

Julia :o)

Monday, 26 October 2015

Going Old Skool (& MHR stuff)


Yes, do not adjust your monitors, I have added the transfers to the china clay wagons.

OK, so its a departure from my normal 1950's/60's stuff but I do have a plan for these. It might work or not but the idea currently is to rub most of the GW stuff off and re-livery them to suit something a little more appropriate. It then will hopefully just a case of comming up with an excuse why they ended up in deepest Hampshire.

The other thing worth mentioning is on Saturday I had the pleasure of popping down to the Mid Hants Railway with my railway friend Andy once again. It was the Autumn Steam Gala and a thoroughly enjoyable day regardless of the weather. The highlight for me was definitely having a mooch around the various new (and old) workshops at Ropley, I haven't been around them before and I was seriously impressed by them.

 There were some more unusual trains too...

Julia :o)


Got these through the post today, some castings for 6mm driving wheels and I am impressed with the results so far.


Monday, 21 September 2015

An Insomniacs guide to the SVR Autum Gala 2015


I thought I would add an entry to my blog about this years Autumn Steam Gala, this is a must see event for me. The difference is that I have suffered a bit from Insomnia for a while now and to sleep in my van parked in the station car park has somewhat eluded me. The mixture of change, excitement, and late nights all come together to make it next to impossible for me to get any sleep, unfortunately this year wasn't much different. I did still really enjoy myself though...

I arrived at Kidderminster Station on Friday around 1pm. To my surprise I also noticed that the entrance to the car park had a sign in the way saying the car park was full along with a smartly dressed guy standing next to it. The smart guy said that the car park was indeed pretty full but fortunately he let me pass saying I might be able to squeeze my van in somewhere. This to me was a bit unusual as I have never seen the car park this full before, I thought to myself 'this is getting to become a popular event'. Anyway, I managed to park up and went for a wander around that station while waiting for Andy to turn up.
There was a nice collection of engines on view already, the 14xx and autocoach was a pleasant surprise too.
Then of course there was the Royal Scot engine. I have never seen one before and I commented that it looked a very well proportioned engine. The engine looked superb and it fitted in to the railway scene really well. The whistle was a bit naff though! Once Andy has arrived and we had had a browse around Kidderminster we then headed off to the next station along Bewdley to get some fish and chips.
I don't know exactly why but am guessing that the Royal Scot engine had drawn in the crowds but there seemed to be a generous collection of photographers out and about. Above you can just about see Britannia pulling into Bewdley Station.
It looked good in the early evening sun. The weird thing though is what they were coupling it up to.
I guess there is no reason why such an engine would be used to pull a freight train, it just looked a bit weird to me though. Anyway, once that trundled off into the distance it was time to walk into town and get a fish and chip dinner.
Once we got back it had got suitable dark enough for me to have another bash at some nightime photography. It is sort of the highlight of the event to me, the fact trains are running 24 hours over the 3 days. The only trouble is I had 2 problems, the first is I forgot my remote shutter release thingy and the second is I am a bit rubbish at taking nightime shots. The above photo is an early attempt and it came out weird considering it was actually this dark...
Now that is the sort of picture I am happy with. The crowds had disappeared by now (don't know why) as it was now around 7pm so getting into a good position to take a photo was no trouble at all. Also having a new camera (Canon 700D) made it much simpler to experiment with settings.
Of course using long exposures makes it really hard to catch moving things, or more correctly things that decide to move when you are mid way through an exposure!
I know I said it before but the whole place just oozes atmosphere in the dark, I just love it! Anyway it was time to head off back to Kidderminster jut in time to see this leave...
It was then time to say our goodbyes for the day and settle in for the night.
So. I was at a steam railway, it was 2.30am and I couldn't sleep at all. So I did the obvious thing, get out of bed, grab the camera and go and take some photos. It was very quiet and serene until a train arrived but even they were trying to be quiet. The rest of the night was spent watching TV and cursing at myself for not being able to sleep, things weren't too bad until around 3-4am when the tiredness started to catch up with me,  it felt like I had to make a decision, do I get some sleep and risk sleeping late and missing a chunk of the next day or stay awake and grit my teeth and get through the rest of the day. I chose the latter this time.

At around 6am the place started waking up again and I was out and about with my camera to catch the morning chores.
It was a bit foggy on the Saturday morning, great for getting some nice atmospheric photos!
The morning progressed and the queue for the morning breakfast train grew longer.

As the day progressed the weather perked up and it ended up being a lovely autumn sunny day. As a result of the previous nights escapades I did struggle a bit, especially when I was sat on the train keeping my eyes open but I didn't let it ruin the day out. Saturday was a day to travel along the line visiting the various stations.
Royal Scot was looking resplendent in the sun.
There seemed to be plenty of people willing to get soot in their faces. I even noticed some safety goggles for sale at one of the stations.
I have now worked out why some southern engines had such large chimneys! This was Sir Keith Park doing its best to help along global warming!
We bumped into Will J and Tom E at Arley Station. Will was wowing the crowds with his models and layout of Victoria Bridge. It was nice to catch up with these guys once again.
While outside there was the opportunity to see scenes like this, they are not that common.
The workshops at Bridgnorth Engine Shed have always been fascinating to me. I wouldn't like to operate some of the machines though, they looked downright  scary. At least I could recognise what they were though.
And this was the final photo I took at the Gala. It was really nice to see autocoaches being used how they were meant to be with all the remote operating gear working.

And so that was the end of the day. I left Kidderminster for home around 6.30pm on the Saturday worn out and tired but very happy. It had been a thoroughly enjoyable 2 days indulging myself in one of my passions regardless of sleep or not, to me it was really worth it. A special thanks goes to Andy H too for keeping me company and being patient with me too.
I say this every year and I really hope at least one person will take my advice. If you haven't tried it out yet then go to the SVR autumn gala, OK it can be busy at times but to be surrounded by steam at night on a working railway totally transforms the whole experience. The atmosphere of the railway just comes alive, go there and soak it up!

Julia :o)

Monday, 31 August 2015

GWR China Clay Wagon (and other stuff)

Hello :o)

I know I am not the fastest of modellers but I like to think that I am one of life's plodders and usually methodically work through the little projects that I put in front of myself. One of these projects which fortunately is comming to an end is a initial batch of 4 GWR China Clay wagons.

This project came about through seeing other people experimenting with various 3D printed wagon bodies so I thought to myself perhaps I should give it a go. The result of this was the 3D model you can see above which came to life through a drawing I found online here:

Once I finalised the design it was then uploaded to Shapeways here:

I found that once uploaded it worked out much cheaper to add multiple parts to the single file so I doubled up the quantity of bodies to make it slightly better value. 4 bodies were then promptly ordered. I don't know if anyone else has noticed but the quality of Shapeways parts, especially in FUD has greatly improved recently, so when the bodies turned up all they really needed was a dunk in an ultrasonic cleaner and a light sanding in a couple of places with a file. Once I was happy they then had a coating of grey primer.

Next up was the chassis for them. Fortunately the 2mm Scale Association produces an etch chassis (2-361) which works out to be a really good fit on the wagon bodies and 4 of these were soldered together over a period of just over a week.

So above is where I have got now. They need transfers, couplings, and weathering, but I am very happy with the results so far. I have made the bodies available for anyone to order so if anyone else fancies a go at these then all the bits are there.

Other bits and bobs I have been working on has been mainly signals. More precisely the 4 starter signals I need for the layout. These have now got the little LEDs fitted and I have made a start on the details for them.

Julia :o)

Sunday, 9 August 2015

2-364 Replacement Dapol Fruit D Chassis Quick Build


Last week my shop 2 order from the 2mm Association arrived through the post. Amongst other things I ordered there were 2 of the newly released etched chassis kits designed by Chris Higgs to replace the moulded N Gauge chassis on the GWR Dapol Fruit D wagon. So armed with a (relatively) free weekend and a desire to have a change from the usual layout stuff, I decided to build them up.

The chassis kits themselves are pretty much the standard design that the association usually stocks, it doesn't have any 'alternative' parts included sp the build is quite straightforward if you have build any etched chassis previously. I really should have taken a picture of the etch before I started but didn't, there is a 'diagram' of it in the files area on the 2mmSA Yahoo group for those who are interested though. The design folds and fits together really well but there are a few pointers I will go into later on. Here are some pictures of the finished thing next to the original for comparison...

Now, here are some points I would like to raise regarding this kit..

  • The instructions are woefully poor so you are pretty much on your own when it comes to building it, I used some prototype pictures to check the position and orientation of bits.
  • I had trouble lining up the axleboxes as they didnt seem to locate on the top hat bearings. I have had this before and it makes the job of fitting them much harder.
  • I hate folding up the brake levers, I have always hated folding up brake levers as they never turn out how they should. There must be a simpler way of doing them?
Other than the points above I also used another one of my little etches for the vacuum cylinder.
It was created to be used with the association 2-347 vacuum cylinders and I feel it creates a far more realistic looking GWR cylinder, it wouldn't take much to add something similar to a kit like this.

Overall its a really nice kit and it improves the appearance of the Dapol wagon body quite a bit. The chassis fits onto the moulded body well using the existing screws and increases the weight from 8g to 10g. I am pleased with how they turned out, especially as I managed to get them both done in a weekend!

Julia :o)

P.S. Quick build? It is for me!

Friday, 24 July 2015

Diesel Days (with a bit of steam too)...

Hello again.

Since my last post I haven't been totally idle modelling wise although a few 'issues' with the mechanics on my van haven't helped with the modelling mojo at all. I thought it was worth a post to show that I nearly have two more usable engines, okay, so they are not a couple of lovely steam engines but some early diesels instead. The plan is for these to provide some sort of motive power on the layout until they can be replaced by things which are a little more interesting to me. Because of that I have done the bare minimum to them really, had the wheels turned by Gordon S and fitted some NEM DG couplings.

Its a good feeling to know that once they have some decoders fitted there are two more usable engines, even more so there are two less engines on my ever increasing pile of 'to convert' N gauge things.
Finally I must say a really BIG thanks once again to Steve T who has again done an absolute brilliant job with the weathering, the pictures do not do them justice.

Oh, and I spent a day here..

A brilliant little railway and a refreshing change from seeing large mainline engines trundle around at 30 mph. Highly recommended.

Julia :o)