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Saturday, 24 June 2017

Project 17 - Rodding Continues

I forgot to break the sleeper ties for the rods to run straight through beneath the rails. What you see instead is truncated lengths each side of the rails. If you can run roding straight through then it is easier but sections of insulating sleeves will need to be fitted to the wire rods to stop electrical shorting where they lie beneath the metal rails.

The second photo shows rods and cranks down the centre of the sleepers. These are for the dual acting facing point locks of the two turnouts there.

There are three more rods to lay alongside the track almost the full length of the layout module. About 20 more stools need to be made to support these. That's going to take quite some effort.

In practice there was more mechanical fittings than modelled, some of which I don't know the purpose, but what I am installing gives a fair impression of this highly visible track side furniture.

To Part 1.

Saturday, 17 June 2017

Project 17 - Rodding Commences

Now for one of the more tricky parts, not only in model construction but also for prototype technical understanding. I confess to being no expert and have spent ages reading up on technicalities and reviewing photographs of the location to identify turnout rod runs and cranks. The cranks can have one of two orientations and I don't know if my guess is correct as I cannot determine it from the photographs I have.

The stools (rod rollers) in this first section beneath the railway bridge in the photo are my last stock of the defunct Colin Waite brass etchings. All others will be the Brassmasters version. The cranks are a mix of both ranges. I have used round copper wire for the rods, whilst round rods were used on the network I believe at Swanage they were square channel, the other option. The spacing of stools for round rods is eight feet.

The installation is purely cosmetic and will be painted when all is finished. Needless to say this lot is quite fiddly/frustrating to assemble but I get a weird sense of enjoyment threading the rods through the finished  stools.

Six rods control two catch points and three turnouts. All together that is five turnouts so why six rods? Each rod is associated with a lever in the Signal Box and they were allocated as follows:

Lever 10: Shed road catch point
Lever 9: Goods turnout
Lever 8: Facing Point Locks of  No2 road and Goods turnouts
Lever 7: Siding catch point (off stage) 
Lever 6: Two Facing turnouts on No 1 and No 2 roads
Lever 5: Facing Point Lock for No 1 road turnout

To Part 21.

To Part 1.

Saturday, 10 June 2017

Project 17 - Ground Signals

Hitherto I made ground signals from matchstick, hole punched plastic and bent wire. For something so small this is fine but for Swanage Loco Yard where attention to detail is more acute, being a very small layout, I opted for the more accurate MSE GS002 kit from Wizard Models.

Only two ground signals are necessary in the modelled scene and fortuitously the Wizard Models kit includes two signals. Whilst of few parts they are extremely small and fiddly to assemble. There is potential to make them operable "if you are brave enough to have a go", says the instructions and as I felt brave I did, except two broken drills later and much fiddling I gave up! The disc does rotate by finger push so can be placed in on or off position but is not linked to its operating lever.

The one on the left is for the shed road catch point and the one on the right for shed road turnout on the station approach road.

To Part 20.

To Part 1.

Monday, 5 June 2017

Project 17 - 6 Month Review

This is one of three micro layouts I had in mind to build, thinking they would be quite quick to create. After all I had read of such layouts being created in a weekend or even 24 hours.

6 months later of 2 or 3 hours per week and whilst Swanage Loco Yard looks finished there is still more to do!

The reason a micro layout can take so long to build is down to the method one decides to follow. I daresay a fictitious railway using all proprietary materials could be knocked up in a weekend. To base a layout on a real location needs time for research and considerably more effort where much of the scene has to be scratch built, as in my case.

What's left to add to the scene is some track side furniture, a bit of landscape in the foreground and completion of track ballasting.

The more significant items to build are the fiddle yards at each end. I was unsure what method to use for these. On a recent visit to the EM South exhibition I paid particular interest in fiddle yard designs used on the layouts there and came away with ideas that should help me construct them.

To operate the layout with some authenticity I'll need to acquire an M7 tank locomotive and perhaps a class 4MT as well since these were used for local services on the line in my period.

I wish I could say that the build has all gone swimmingly but I'm afraid there are significant issues that almost caused me to abandon the project, which I'll allude to now.

Turntable Drive

The turntable is motor driven. I mentioned in an earlier posting that it is a noisy mechanism and with that big void beneath the baseboard the sound is amplified (as are the locomotive motors). More of a worry is the weakness of the turntable drive. Even though the motor is purported to be high torque it does not cope well with a bit of friction in turntable movement. If this becomes unbearable I'll convert it to manual control via a turning handle at the front of the layout module.

Foam Board Module

5mm foam board is an inexpensive and a very light weight material from which to make the layout module. I knew it might have strength issues but the finished unit seemed sufficiently rigid. However, the baseboard soon sagged in places indicating that I should have put in more bracing. It was too late to do this retrospectively as some scenic items were already fixed in place so, the deviation had to be packed out beneath the railway track to ensure a flat plane. A sheet of thin plywood on top of the foam board base or making the baseboard from a thick piece of insulation foam board may have helped matters.

During the photo session today I noticed that the sides of the module are showing bowing tendencies. This does not bode well for the long term future of the layout, which is a worry as the scene itself is very well done and a delight to view, if I say so myself. If only I could lift it off and fit it to a more solid structure for longevity. I'm afraid it does not lend itself to that.


I wanted  limited lighting to be representative of a dull autumn day It was the first thing built into the module and seemed adequate although I knew the reflection from white walls and baseboard might be giving a false impression. Having built the landscape much of the light is absorbed by it making for very dull light at the engine shed end of the layout. On the face of it with the shed lights switched on it would be beneficial but it's too dark for my liking. I don't want to add more theatrical lights at that end as the intention was to have light from one source as though the sun was shining through thin cloud. Fortunately, I had not stuck the opaque roof panel in place so I'm now toying with the idea of making the module roof out of translucent material to allow more ambient light across the scene.

To Part 19.

To Part 1.

Oh, and what of the other two micro layouts I had in mind - probably non starters after the time it is taking for this one.

Thursday, 1 June 2017

June Website Cover

When modelling a specific location it is fun to recreate a scene on the model railway from a photograph of train(s) at the prototype location. Further authenticity is provided with a bit of photo editing to add smoke and steam. I call it inspired modelling.

View the cover here .

Friday, 26 May 2017

Project 17 - People

I thought about flooding the scene with people but in the end felt it would be unrealistic for this small loco yard. First photo shows a man (Airfix) watching yard activity from Northbrook Road railway bridge. This is becoming a bit of a trade mark for me since a similar scene appears on my Misterton layout.

I am surprised how well the bridge stone texture appears considering it is flat stone paper decoration.

Next photo depicts the shed foreman (Airfix) at night surveying his empire from a vantage point at the top of the staff room steps.

The sloping building walls are less noticeable on the model itself.

I tend to use people that are in a natural, static pose but I could not resist this action scene of the loco fireman shovelling coal as he is nearly identical to this photograph of the prototype.

The fireman is actually a 'Marine Worker' by Montys Models, lent over and probably meant to be pulling a chain or rope. I gave him a shovel instead. From this angle he passes very well as a loco fireman.

I'd like to include a couple of loco men standing near the turntable. Had I been more alert I could have picked up suitable models from Modelu and Montys Models on my recent visit to EM spring expo. That will have to wait for another day.

To Part 18.

To Part 1

Friday, 19 May 2017

Project 17 - Ash Heap

There was a substantial ash heap in Swanage loco yard circa 1960. What to use to model it? Coal ash of course, with a little ground up clinker mixed in.

The modelled heap is shaped polystyrene packaging with the ash PVA glued over it.

Something else you'll see alongside the heap in photographs of the period is a forlorn white wheel barrow. Either painted white or white from ash.

ToPart 17.

To Part 1.

Saturday, 13 May 2017

Expo EM Spring 2017 Review

If you are a scratch builder seeking some obscure and rare component then this is the place you are likely to find it because small, specialist traders out number the model railway layouts on display. I have not been to any other exhibition where such a number of specialist traders can be found. I for one picked up all the components I needed for my current modelling project.

For the novice scratch builder there are many stands giving demonstrations of modelling techniques from which you can learn.

And so to the layouts, all of which are modelled to finescale standards, which basically means accurate to prototype, where modelled as such, and attention to detail. The ones that stood out for me were London Road, for the nicely decorated Edwardian people and Sandford and Banwell, where I spied operating ground disc signals (I believe). Swaynton struck a cord as it depicted an LSWR line - my territory.

My best in show goes to Pwllheli. Its soft lighting, well modelled buildings in unusual architectural styles that run into the backscene were of note.

It is not easy to merge 3 dimensional foreground to 2 dimensional backscene, especially where buildings and roads pass between. What we see on Pwllheli is the best one can expect to achieve in my view.

Friday, 5 May 2017

Project 17 - Embankment

Layers of polystyrene foam packaging was used to create the embankment behind the water tower. These were shaped with a hot wire cutter before fixing in place with PVA glue.

Wickes medium wood filler was spread over to fill cracks and holes in and around the polystyrene and to give a firm base upon which to grow grass and trees. The medium wood filler comes in a useful brown earth colour.

An imposing line of trees existed on the embankment  at Swanage around 1960. I used sprigs of dead Sedum to represent these. Sedum has a great texture that almost emulates leaves obviating the need for overlaying with flock or scatter. The 'leaves' were very lightly sprayed green and dabs of yellow and orange acrylic paint applied on top to give an early autumn colour.

The sprigs mostly have an undesirable flattish dome shape. For a free standing tree an array of sprigs need to be glued together to form the tree shape. This cannot be the solution for this installation where the trees and shrubs form a contiguous line and their branches touch the ground.

For the lower branches the sprigs were glued individually flat to the ground, as shown in the photo. Another layer was laid onto these and as the height increases individual sprigs planted vertically. It is quite a lengthy process as time must be given to carefully select suitable sprigs to fit the scene and to allow time for the glue to set as each group is placed.

I wanted the grass embankment to represent tall dry grass of early autumn. Whilst the top is a straw colour lower down near the ground should be green.

Old carpet underlay, being a jute/hair/wool/string mix, was used. First I cut a piece to fit and sprayed one side grass green. This side was PVA glued to the embankment and when dry pulled away to leave a hairy, straw colour surface with green base. Further plucking was done to get the desired effect. Next, the hairs were lifted and straightened by combing with a nail brush and finally long strands cut to size with scissors. The grass looks windswept in the photo. I may reposition the blades with the brush to be more vertical.

A few bare areas where the mat did not stick properly were covered in Woodland Scenics flock to give the impression of other plants.

This tranquil, rural scene of 1960 is very different today where the trees have been replaced by an upper coal yard, the area cluttered with mechanical plant and machinery and an austere water tower replaces the original.

To Part 16.

To Part 1

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Project 17 - Exit Stage Right

The bridge forms an effective scenic break where trains exit the layout into a non-scenic fiddle yard. This photo shows the best viewing angle from which to appreciate this. The truncated bridge end is an eyesore of course and could have been hidden by extending the right hand 'window frame' to cover it (only just thought of that).

Move further along and the gaping hole beneath the bridge in the side wall of the layout module  is revealed.

The back scene is a photograph of the actual location with a bit of editing to merge it as seamlessly as possible with the foreground model and then recolouring for Autumn colours.

To Part 15.

To Part 1.

Monday, 17 April 2017

Project 17 - Bridge

Northbrook Road railway bridge is the final building to be made for the layout. The main structure is 5mm foam board (a lovely material to work with) covered in decorative paper. The repeating pattern of stones in the decorative paper is evident on the left hand pillar of the bridge but this will be less obvious once the embankment is installed.

To Part 14.

To Part 1.

Saturday, 8 April 2017

Project 17 - Water Tower

The water tower is a fairly close representation of the Swanage loco yard tower as it existed about 1958. Sometime after and before 1962 the gable end was modified or replaced and the ladder turned 90 degrees with a standing platform added at its top. The tower was demolished after the last steam engine service ran in 1967.

The tower model is made from card with decorative paper overlays. The filler hose is a paper tube, the ladder is DIY 3D printed and the LED lamp sourced from China. The hut alongside is corrugated styrene with a door reclaimed from an old Airfix signal box.

The tower is fixed to the base with 1mm wire glued into two corners. These pass through the baseboard and are bent over in an arc at the rear to hold the tower tight to the baseboard. If I need to remove the tower I just bend the wires straight again. The coaling platform and corrugated hut are glued to the baseboard.

There is quite a bit of detail added to this side of the tower, as the prototype, and I am particularly pleased with the water tap model that I made.

The end of the pipe (copper wire) was bent over to form the spout. Thinner wire was then wrapped around to make the tap body and the two ends of it bent upright and 90 degrees to form the handle. Solder was then applied to the 'body' to smooth over the thin wire wrap and bulk it up.

The last photo shows a night scene with the lamp lit. The starry sky is a stitched image that is not part of the model layout. There is a lot of landscape scenery to add around this installation in due course.

To Part 13.

To Part 1.

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Project 17 - Coaling Platform

The platform is made from 18mm thick soft wood covered in decorative stone paper and the surface painted with black emulsion.

The coal stack is real coal PVA glued over an epoxy putty heap. The coal is applied in three layers. The first layer is dust followed by 1mm grains and then hand selected chunks a few millimetres across.

At this end of the platform the grey surface (granite dust) is where the coal has not reached.

The ash pit is a free card kit by Scalescenes.

To Part 12.

To Part 1.

Monday, 20 March 2017

Project 17 - More Trees

More trees in autumn colours have been planted behind the engine shed completing this corner of the layout. The furthest tree and closest are made from spigs of dead yarrow glued together to form a tree like structure and covered in painted sawdust. The brown trees in between are untreated sprigs of dead sedum. They have a better representation of tree leaves so don't need the sawdust enhancement.

To Part 11.

To Part 1.  

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Lima Class 117 DMBS to DMS - Pt 4

The reason I have a Western Region Class 117 is because I thought it ran on the LSWR main line when the Western took over Southern services west of Salisbury from 1963. This is further supported by a photograph in the book 'Yeovil to Exeter' (isbn 0-906520-91-6) that shows an unidentified unit at Broad Clyst in 1964 on a Yeovil Junction to Exeter Central service. Further evidence is its head code of 2C50, which has been independently reported as also being seen on the Plymouth - Exeter LSWR route in 1963.

There is just one problem. It might have been a Class 118 because these were more prevalent in the West than 117s. The only physical difference between the two classes at this time are the car number allocations and the headcode box roof, which is more curved on the 118. With such small differences I am content to run the 117 as a representative DMU on my model of the main line.

Apparently there are many other details on the Lima Class 117 that are incorrect to prototype, a list of which appears here

Apart from the DMBS body panel conversion and the flush glazing the only other items I have enhanced are set out below.

Cab  Front

A new head code, 2C50 printed from computer. This code means Western Region, Exeter Plymouth District, Train Number 50. The closest true type font to that of the prototype offered by the Windows operating system is 'Century Gothic'.

The destination blind behind the centre window shows Yeovil Junction. At the other end of the train it shows Exeter Central. Probably not correct to have two different destinations but on the model railway it is convenient for travelling each direction.

Window wipers have been installed made up from thin plastic sprue.

DMS Number

The numbers on the 3 car set I purchased whilst individually correct do not form a known set of the prototype. The existing DMBS has the number W51342. The DMS conversion needs a new number so I choose W51384 from the same set as the DMBS. The TC (trailer composite) has the number W59518, which is not of this set. It should be W59494 but I don't intend to change that. Further more, these cars were allocated to Southall shed so probably never ran on my modelled line. It is most likely that sets from Plymouth Laira shed would have been used.

On one side of the DMS (ex DMBS) the existing number near the drivers door needed the last two numbers changed. I found it was easy to remove these using a piece of masking tape pressed over and then peeled away, which lifted the numbers without damage to the paintwork. HMRS Pressfix numbers were then applied but their colour was much brighter than the remaining Lima numbers. I toned them down with grains from a black pastel crayon embedded in the matte varnish that was wiped over the numbers to fix them.

On the other side the numbers were on the body panel that was removed during conversion. Therefore, a complete number sequence had to be applied below the largest window near the rear end. These were treated the same as the other side to tone down the colour.


The gap between cars set by Lima is wider than the prototype to allow the train to negotiate toy track curves without fouling but, what is worse is the chasm between the dummy gangways. All my trains have full gangways fitted and this one is no exception. They are made from paper stuck to a piece of eighth inch cork that is held in the dumy gangway of the model.

The End.

To Part 1.

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Lima Class 117 DMBS to DMS - Pt 3

This is about flush glazing the DMS windows using vacuum formed transparent plastic.

There are several video tutorials on YouTube that describe how to make a vacuum forming machine. It is quite a simple process so I decided to try it even though I had doubts about the outcome, which proved to be true. A couple of hours work using scrap materials resulted in a neat machine made from an ice cream container and MDF wood.

Some scrap pieces of bodywork from the donor DMBS served as the moulds.

The plastic for forming needs to be made for the process so I cut a flat piece from plastic packaging that had already been through a vac forming process.

This next photo shows the result. The formed glazing is definitely flush but it is more like bubble glass than flat plate glass. It shows that this DIY process is best suited for objects that have generous curves and not sharp corners.

I decided not to experiment further. Instead I purchased from Peters Spares the Flushglaze product SE-12 by SE Finecast. I like this product because there is spare glazing in the pack in case some get damaged or lost during fitting.

There is also another product called Laserglaze by Shawplan that has sharper corners than Flushglaze but the price is about three times more than Flushglaze.

Final photo shows the installed Flushglaze product.

Next job is finishing touches.

To Part 4.

To Part 1.

Saturday, 11 March 2017

2 Expos in 2 Weeks


Last weekend was my pilgrimage to Pendon. I first visited Pendon when The Dartmore Scene was housed in an old RAF hut nicknamed Marilyn. A purpose built building has long since replaced the hut and I have visited several times to see development of  The Vale Scene (1st photo).

Pendon is not so much an exhibition in the usual sense of club events. It is in fact a museum of miniature landscape with the flagship layout depicting in very fine detail the Vale of White Horse, as it was in the 1930s.

With only four model railway layouts on display one could complete a viewing within a very short time. However, the correct way to appreciate the exhibits, particularly the massive Vale Scene, is to dawdle at each viewing point to fully absorb the fine details. This proved a little difficult with a fidgety seven year old in tow. I have to commend the volunteer museum guides who were very tolerant of this and one gentlemen in particular who developed a rapport with our Grandson helping him to focus on aspects of the exhibits.

Visit Pendon Museum.


This weekend saw my annual visit to The Basingstoke & North Hants Model Railway Show, one of the biggest exhibitions in the south. I could only attend on the Saturday and for a limited time due to other commitments. This, plus it being a crowded event meant I could not fully appreciate the exhibits or find much of what I needed from the trade. On the plus side I did meet friends whom one rarely sees outside such exhibitions and bumped into Chris Nevard who I first met at the Guildford show this year when he stopped by our Thornycroft Sidings exhibit. Chris was at Basingstoke as the guest judge for Best in Show. I don't know which layout he choose but those that stood out for me were:

Watercress Line (N)

A cleverly designed layout that packed in all four stations from the line in a tiered structure to save on space.

Bath Green Park (00)

A truly magnificent recreation to scale of the Midland / Somerset & Dorset terminus station.

Navigation Road (EM)

My personal favourite. British Railways blue diesel era depicting a N.E. London industrial scene (2nd photo). The whole scene looked authentic helped by finescale standards of modelling. There is very little on the web about this layout and a description of it was missing from the show brochure. All I can say is it belongs to the Sarum Finescale Group.

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Lima Class 117 DMBS to DMS - Pt 2

There are good interior drawings of the 3 car set here that show the seating and partition arrangements.

Two panels of seating were cut from the donor DMBS, and the rear end of the running model seating cut away.

The two new panels were glued in place at the arrow marks shown in the photo. A recess at the rear between seats was cut for body retaining clip clearance.

There is very little photo evidence of the original interior colour scheme for the green liveried cars on the web and heritage 117 photos show blue seating throughout, which I believe should only apply to first class.

What I deduced from published data is this:

Ceiling and driver cab walls: white
Passenger compartment walls and partitions: yellow patterned with grey triangular darts.
1st class seating: patterned dark blue
1st class floor: light blue
2nd class seat cover and backrest: patterned maroon
2nd class seat headrest: tan
2nd class seat sides: tan
2nd class floor: green
Drivers seats: green
Dashboard: black

I used acrylic paints applied with brush, which required many coatings to hide the manufacturers colours. Patterns were not replicated as it would not be noticeable through the windows of the model. If this was required I would use printed paper overlays instead of paint.

It was nigh on impossible to stop the yellow paint leeching into the window frames. After each coat of paint a damp cotton wool bud easily removed the overspill from the window frames.

Next job, flush glazing.

To Part 3.

To Part 1.

Saturday, 4 March 2017

Lima Class 117 DMBS to DMS - Pt 1

The Lima Class 117 DMU 3 car set was always shipped with two DMBS (Driving Motor Brake Second) cars. This arrangement does not match the prototype where the trailing car is a DMS (Driving Motor Second).

The difference in window arrangement is very noticeable:
(Photo Left = DMS, Photo Right = DMBS)

There is a conversion kit available from Silverfox Models. However, I choose to use a donor Lima DMBS and do a 'cut and shut' job for my running model because the donor body panels are exact same moulding and paint finish. I was fortunate in winning on eBay someone's butchered DMBS to be the donor.

Changing the body panels at this end of the coach is not the whole story because the window next to the driver doors at the other end is narrower on the prototype than on the Lima model. The difference is not that noticeable so I'll probably leave that alone.

First I cut both body panels off the roof of the donor DMBS using a stand mounted dremel (cutting speed set to 9). The cut was made into the roof a little above the top row of rivets. The cut on the body panel was clean (thankfully) but the roof suffered some distortion along the cutting line due to plastic melt. Not sure if this is due to a worn out cutter or inappropriate cutting speed but it occurred to me afterwards that had I first cooled the body in the fridge then melt during cutting may have been eliminated.

Once the panels were cut away from the roof I lowered the dremel and passed the body panels back through the cutter to trim down to the very top of the rivets. There will be further top trimming later to achieve the final fit.

Next, I selected the window and door arrangements that could be made up into the required replacement panels.

The new panel for each side is made up from two panels cut from the donor sides. Masking tape was used to mark the cutting lines (cutting lines shown arrowed).
The cuts are made with razor saw along the vertical door edges as this will disguise the panel joins except, it is done in such a way  to retain the door hinges and hand rails.

This results in door hinges and hand rails protruding from the panel. The adjoining panel will require cut out outs for the fit.

Alignment is assured by placing a slither of paint on the end of the projections and pressing onto the adjoining panel to leave a mark for cutting guidance. The cut out is then made with razor saw and file.

The two panels to make one are glued together with liquid poly glue.
Photo shows the completed left and right side panels. The panel join is imperceptible in this photo but there is a couple of small gaps that will be filled from the rear with epoxy putty and touched up with a dab of paint.

Turning now to the DMBS to be converted the rear section was removed with dremel and razor saw. The cut at the roof line was just below the row of rivets and finished with a file to the bottom of the rivets.

The edge of the end panel and mating replacement side are chamferred at 45 degrees to disguise the join.

The photo also shows the seams on the replacement panel that is already fitted to the other side and the door handle cut out on this side ready for the implant.

The row of rivets on the top edge of the replacement panel was filed away until a good fit to the body was achieved.

The final photo shows the DMBS (top) and DMS (bottom) body.

Next job is the interior.

To Part 2.

Sunday, 26 February 2017

Project 17 - First Tree Grown

The land behind the retaining wall is Northbrook Cemetery with a few mature trees near the retaining wall. Whether or not I place grave head stones in the small area modelled will depend on how much of it is hidden by the row of trees.

The first tree is placed in the corner of the layout. It is shorter than those at Swanage because it is reclaimed from a previous model railway, and I have a second in waiting. It was in green leaf before I re-sprayed it to give the effect of leaves about to fall in Autumn. The smaller tree to the left is in the back scene.

For a detailed instruction on how to grow a model railway tree click here.

To Part 10.

To Part 1

Sunday, 19 February 2017

Project 17 - Long Grass & A Miracle Glue

I return to the long grass issue cited in Part 6. Instead of trying to apply the hemp with a static grass applicator, which was unsuccessful, I simply pinched bunches, trimmed the ends square, dabbed in fast drying PVA glue and stuck in place. Then, whilst still wet, trimmed the height with scissors and  straightened the strands by gently brushing upwards with a toothbrush and from the suction of a vacuum cleaner, which also removed loose pieces.

The hemp is a bit too straw like in colour so I greened it up a bit by dry brushing with green acrylic paint.

The telegraph pole and gradient notice {inset) are also new additions to the scene.

Sticking the A4 back scene printed paper sheets to the back board posed the problem of what glue to use. I knew from experience that conventional glues can lead to air bubbles, creases and stick too fast to allow re-alignment.

My research lead me to Acrylic Matte Medium. This is a gel mainly used to alter the glossiness of acrylic paint. I learned that it can also be used as a paper glue that overcomes all of the issues stated above.

This area of the layout is quite awkward to fit the back scenes in place and I did have problems with the second piece resulting in air bubbles. But I was able to peel it off, apply more matte medium and stick it down smoothly without damage to the printed paper.

To Part 9.

To Part 1.

Saturday, 11 February 2017

Newbury MRC Expo 2017


A railway is an object of length. Space for it is the biggest challenge for modellers. Where space is limited and you still want a railway of some expanse then you might choose one of the smaller gauges like 'N' or smaller still 'Z'. But, have you heard of 'T' (tiny)? The track gauge is just 3mm and the scale 1:450 I saw it for the first time at the Newbury show. Someone had modelled the Forth Railway Bridge (the prototype is about 8,000 feet long) in 'T' gauge and you know what - the layout was about 25 feet long! It seems even a ridiculously small scale still requires a lot of space.

'T' gauge is not for me and my companion had to turn away feeling ill at the thought of modelling trains and buildings that are hard to see.

My Best in Show goes to Lydgate (OO gauge, 1950s ex-L&Y), an industrial theme with detailed cameo scenes containing people in realistic, static poses. This photo shows one end of the layout, a micro layout in itself that is connected to, but visually separate, from the much larger vista beyond the bridge.

In the Trade

I have been wanting a Class 117 DMU for my own Misterton layout for some time. I had been holding off buying the obsolete Lima in preference for the expected higher detailed Bachmann that was announced a couple of years ago but still no forecast of its availability.

I started to reconsider the Lima offering but following auctions on eBay I was put off by the high demand and high price. Do people not know of the shortcomings, like the trailing car being woefully inaccurate to the prototype?

At the Newbury show a trader was offering a boxed Lima 3 car set for about £10-£20 cheaper than eBay sellers. I scrutinised the models carefully. The condition was excellent although the trader could not test run it for me. I took a chance and bought it. On getting it home I test ran and found it worked ok. I decided to open up the power car to check over the motor and give the cogs a light oiling and to my delight discovered that the previous owner had fitted working headlamps! The implementation was a bit crude being a filament pea bulb pointing at two plastic light tubes and the electrical connections held in place not with solder but with blu-tac!

I corrected the wiring and shrouded the lamp and tubes with black insulation tape but I'm afraid the bulb light is too strong and shines through the black tape giving the appearance of  a camp fire inside the passenger compartment! That will need more work at some point.

Due to the incorrect trailing car style I am thinking of getting a conversion kit to put it right and install flush glazing throughout.

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