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Wednesday, 1 August 2018

August Website Cover

Class 42 'Highflyer' on freight duties passes through Hewish Gates.

View the cover here.

Saturday, 23 June 2018

An Unexpected Find

Blue Pool on the Isle of Purbeck, Dorset is a privately owned tranquil landscape open to the public by admission charge. The main feature is a man made lake resulting from clay quarrying. The water takes on hues of green or blue whatever the weather condition, hence the name. The effect is due to light refracted by suspended clay particles in the water.

On the face of it there is not much else there to attract tourists. Not true because there are lovely woodland walks, a tea room, shop, a quirky display of teddy bears set in dioramas and a small museum displaying wildlife and artifacts created from the processing of clay, for which this area is renowned.

Imagine my surprise when I entered the museum to find a model railway display. Quite unexpected although had I visited their website before attending I would have known about it. It is not of the typical displays found at resorts that tend to be fictitious locations full of track and trains whizzing about to entertain tourists. It is a 4mm scale model of The Pike Brothers Furzebrook clay workings and in particular the narrow gauge railways that once served the area.
I was enthralled by the attention to detail of the modeller, R. Dyson. It took him about 10 years of free time to research and construct. It resided in a spare bedroom of his home. When the time came to reclaim the bedroom for other purposes it was donated(or sold?)  to the museum.
Today it is a static corner diorama about 2m by 2m. The layout includes a section of the Swanage Branch line with siding to the works. On the branch line is an M7 locomotive pulling two coaches.
The Swanage heritage railway is well known and a visit to it is essential for enthusiasts when in the area. I have visited several times before. This visit was spent admiring the architecture of Corfe and Swanage stations for real, having recently modelled Corfe station building and goods shed from only plans and photographs. Not much attention was paid to the locomotives and rolling stock, apart from a privileged interior viewing of a Maunsell open 3rd carriage undergoing restoration.

On duty this day was a Class 33 diesel and Class 4MT tank engine, both to be found on the line in British Railway days. This aerial view of Corfe Station (with class 33) is often photographed. I assumed they were taken from a plane or drone but no, I snapped this one from the ramparts of Corfe Castle (scary height)!

Class 4MT 80104 approaching Corfe from Norden.

Friday, 4 May 2018

LSWR No. 1 Goods Shed - 5

The Galbraith North Cornwall drawing shows a shed crane position at the opposite end of the shed to the office. I assumed Corfe Castle Goods Shed would be the same. I was wrong!

There is a cross beam arrangement between the two rafters either side of the doors, giving the appearance of an 'A' frame that went wrong. It looked a little odd to me but I assumed it was for strengthening purposes. That was until my research into LSWR shed cranes revealed they were held in place by pivots in the floor and in the roof beams. Looking carefully at the Corfe building today the location of a pivot plate can clearly be seen at the centre of the cross beam, although the crane itself is missing. This places the crane at the office end of the building.

Having created a detailed interior for the model it would be amiss if a crane was not included so, here it is. It is a static model except it swivels 360 degrees arcing over the lorry loading bay and over the railway track.

I said in an earlier posting that the canopies and beams would be built into a removable roof. Having installed the crane I can see that it might be difficult to locate it in the pivot hole with a large roof getting in the way. To ease this I decided to keep the canopies and beams assembly separate and removable in their own right.

The crane is a 3D printed plastic kit I designed against actual photographs of LSWR cranes. Only 3 printed parts are needed plus some wire. Clearly this cannot be supplied with the Goods Shed downloadable card kit but, I will include a schematic. Hand built Goods Sheds supplied by me will include the crane model.

Unique to the Corfe building is a lean-to annex. In 1965/66 the wooden annex was rebuilt with what looks like breeze block, totally out of keeping with the goods shed style. I prefer to model the original wooden structure but photographic evidence of it has proved elusive so, it will not be included, which is no bad thing as it is in keeping with the original Galbraith North Cornwall design.

Click an image for a larger view.

 Lorry for illustrative purposes only.

To Part 1.

Thursday, 26 April 2018

LSWR No. 1 Goods Shed - 4

The chimney breast in the prototype is a curious arrangement. Above the roof line it is square and beneath the roof line triangular! On close perusal of the drawings it became apparent that the chimney being flush with the outer walls is pretty much contained within the thick walls of the building and the breast within the building is forward and angled simply to afford space for the fireplace

The canopies are now built - at the third attempt. Part of the issue was the dimensions on the North Cornwall plan and those on the book plan are different, which was not obvious to begin with so I mixed dimensions from both before realising this. In the end I only used the book plan

The rail to canopy height on the model has been set for code 100 track that is about 5mm tall including sleeper (e.g. Peco brand). The building overall is a little taller than the plan to accommodate this. It will be fine for code 75 as well but if packing is used under the sleepers, e.g. preformed foam ballast, then check the fit and raise the building ground level if there is nterference with rolling stock.

To Part 5.

To Part 1.

Sunday, 22 April 2018

LSWR No. 1 Goods Shed - 3

Getting on in leaps and bounds for two reasons. I was keen to see how my vision for the interior would manifest and trepidation about whether or not my idea for operational doors would in practice work.

The original flooring used in the prototype was wooden pine planks but what size? I read that there was no standard for Victorian floorboards, which ranged from 5 to 7 inches wide and up to 16 feet long. For the model I opted for knotty pine 6 inches wide and 16 feet long.

The loading bay on the right is correct to Galbraith's design as is the steps therein. But, the bay differs to the current arrangement at Corfe where this area has been considerably enlarged to suit its use as a museum.

At the other end of the shed is the office, the style and content of which once again is based on the Galbraith plan. It is substantially larger and more ornate than that currently in the Corfe building, which looks to be a contemporary rebuild. I have a notion that the original office was only partitions without a roof. The model office is fitted out with desk and two chairs. (one is hidden behind the wall). There is a chimney breast and fireplace yet to go into the corner.

And so to the doors, without going into detail on the paper, card and wire mehanics, they do operate but are quite fragile. They are best placed in the desired position and perhaps only moved for photographic sessions.

 Doors Closed
Doors Opened
To Part 4.

To Part 1.

Thursday, 19 April 2018

LSWR No. 1 Goods Shed - 2

I noticed that the window frames of the prototype are set midway between the front and back of the stone wall blocks. The method used to represent this on the model was to sandwich the window frames between an outer and inner wall. This might be considered an overkill, but as all my constructions use the same board thickness of 0.75 mm then the double wall method benefits from greater building rigidity.

A copy of the stone paper overlay was used to create the white washed internal walls by adjusting colour brightness, contrast and saturation.

There are two canopies to design and make. On the original prototype these were supported by roof beams that spanned the entire building width extending beyond the side walls. The canopies, beams, rafters and roof will be built as one assembly that can be easily removed from the building to view the interior and populate it with goods and figures etc. But, the next job will be to design and build the internal platform.

To Part 3.

To Part 1.

Monday, 16 April 2018

LSWR No. 1 Goods Shed - Part 1

My next card kit project is the LSWR No. 1 Goods Shed, designed for the North Cornwall Line by the LSWR consulting engineer W.R. Galbraith. The design was also used for the goods shed at Corfe Castle station, built in 1895. No surprise when you learn that Galbraith was appointed for overseeing the construction of the Swanage Branchline. It is the Corfe version of the shed that will be the basis for the model.

Apart from photographs there are two plans that I shall use. The first is from Robert Antell's book Southern Country Stations: 1  London & South Western Railway and the second is a plan of the North Cornwall shed that is available from the web. Whilst the latter text is illegible it has very good diagrams of the interior arrangements. This will hep me to include a detailed interior for the model.

To Part 2.

Saturday, 17 March 2018

4mm Scale Corfe Castle Station Building - 12

This is the elaborate cupola that sits on top of the gents toilet block. Looks a complicated piece but was quite easy to make.

The final module to design and build was a small annex at this end of the building on the platform side. It is a signal box added to the station about 1957 after BR demolished the original box that was on the 2nd platform (later rebuilt by the heritage railway). Today it is used as a porter staff room, being an extension of their room inside the toilet block.

The style of roof is unknown but there is a clue that suggests it is a flat roof because there is one hole at the top of the wall on the other side served by a drain pipe. If it was a gable roof then there would have been a drain pipe on this side too.

The notice on the door reads "This Signalbox is Private" and fixes the period of the model in the BR period from about 1957.

Below are photos of the completed model. Click an image for a larger view.

To Part 1.

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

35th BNHMRS expo.

The problem with frequently visiting model railway shows is that you'll come across layouts seen at other exhibitions. That was the case at this show for several have already featured in my postings, being high quality layouts. This makes the job of choosing a new personal best in show difficult. I had been around the whole exhibition feeling disappointed that none stood out for me. (Of course, what is appealing is down to personal taste and for me it's layouts that look realistic with fine details.)

The last layout seen held my attention for some time and receives my best in show, which for the first time matched the official judges choice too. It is Lower Exbury (P4), one of only two finescale layouts at this show I believe, and in that is the clue as to why it won. Finescale means realistic looking, to scale.

At first glance it appears a minimalist layout that you might quickly pass by but study it closely and little cameo scenes surprise and delight the viewer.

Here is one, an exquisitely painted 4mm scale figure.

Another layout of note not seen before is Brixham Bay (N). The origins of the model has an interesting back story that I'll not go into here. Ask the exhibitor if you see it at a show.

I choose it because of the back scene design. I assumed it was a photograph, as is the trend,  but learnt it is an oil on canvas painting created by the modeller that took a year to create! Not only a skilled modeller but an artist too.

Photos Copyright 2018: Ed Smith.

Friday, 9 March 2018

4mm Scale Corfe Castle Station Building - 11

The gents toilet block, whilst the same style as the main building, is shorter and narrower than the ticket office it ajoins.

Its not quite finished as there is a very ornate, almost oriental in style, cupola to design, build and fix to the roof top.

To Part 1.

Saturday, 3 March 2018

4mm Scale Corfe Castle Station Building - 10

Two annexes for the Station Master's residence.

The stone annex is a storeroom. I started making this first and when it came to designing the wooden entrance lobby discovered that I made the store room too low. It is that lobby roof jutting into the storeroom that is critical. It has to blend into the incline of the store room roof  and not sit above it. Consequently I had to discard and remake the store room but was able to reclaim the roof.

Part of the issue was my reference drawing that is inaccurate w.r.t. the lobby compared to actual dimensions I have to hand.

The lobby architectural style is way out of character with the main building and is probably a latter addition. It is a private entrance to the house from the garden.

A little more detail - first aid stretcher cabinet.

To Part 11.

To Part 1.

Saturday, 24 February 2018

4mm Scale Corfe Castle Station Building - 9

One month in to a two month project. The canopy was a delight to design. It includes textured roof corrugations

and full framing underneath with photo realistc spandrels.

Pipework too is full represented

The build thus far represents about two thirds of the entire station building it seems to me that this could stand on its own as a fine Victorian country station for any Southern location :)

Four more modules to design and make. There is a complex annex to design but next I shall do one of the simpler annexes at the house end of the building.

To Part 10.

To Part 1

Tuesday, 20 February 2018

4mm Scale Corfe Castle Station Building - 8

Ticket office is now complete and can join the station master's house.

Next task is the canopy.

To Part 9.

To Part 1.

Saturday, 17 February 2018

4mm Scale Corfe Castle Station Building - 7

I planned to complete the ticket office this week but other events caused delay and we have an unfinished model, as can be seen from the photo.

This module turned out to be more difficult than expected with the most challenging part being the dormer window that took a day alone to design and build. All those angles!

The two poster boards show a timetable and an advertisement for the west of England car carrier train. The timetable is not for the Swanage Branch but it does not matter because the text is so small it is unreadable! The advertising poster is my own design based on 1960s railway poster art.

Unfortunately the poster board on the right should have been placed between the two windows. By the time I realised this the glue had set. It could be cut off and the resulting damage to the wall stone decoration repaired but that would leave a noticeable scar. Positioned next to the door is a more logical place as it gives balance with the other board but it could not be so in practice as there is a stone ledge in the way that seems to serve no purpose other than decoration.

Postscript: The ledges were used to support a canopy over the entrance that once existed in the distant past.

To Part 8

To Part 1.

Friday, 9 February 2018

4mm Scale Corfe Castle Station Building - 6

The cross wing is the second module to be designed and built. It now joins the gable end module to complete the station master's residence.

The tricky part of the model cross wing design was the dormer window. It looks a complicated construction in photographs of the prototype because it cuts into the roof and has two rafters poking through its fascia that are on a different incline to the rest. It took some thought to come up with a simple construction method for the model.

Now for what is probably the most distinctive architectural feature on the platform side of the building - the highly ornate barge board. The graphic design for this was created over a photograph of the actual barge board at Swanage Station, being the same style as Corfe Castle Station (well very nearly the same. If you can spot the difference write it in the comment box and give yourself a doughnut).

The two drain pipes on the right hand side are temporarily placed and will be truncated to direct the rain they carry onto the canopy drainage gully, when that is built.

The design and build time of the cross wing was about half that of the gable end as I was able to duplicate or adapt some of its design elements.

Whilst this piece is about one third of the entire station building it seems to me that it could stand on its own as a fine Victorian detached house for either station masters or, the general public :)

Sunday, 4 February 2018

4mm Scale Corfe Castle Station Building - 5

Photo shows the almost complete Gable End module and the beginnings of the Cross Wing module. Some minor details to add to the Gable End module that have to wait for another module to ajoin it.

To Part 6.

To Part 1.

Wednesday, 31 January 2018

4mm Scale Corfe Castle Station Building - 4

Here are those rafters poking through the side wall - just like the real thing;

and this photo shows the work involved to show them (all will be hidden from admiration when the roof tiles are fitted).

In fact they were not difficult to design and assemble. Just laborious but strangely therapeutic. 

I am particularly pleased with the roof clay tile detail. I used my existing grey slate tile design and recoloured it on the computer applying a bit of colour variation and pigeon poo!

To Part 5.

To Part 1.

Sunday, 28 January 2018

4mm Scale Corfe Castle Station Building - 3

An engine shed and water tower from The Swanage Railway are available from my card kit catalogue. I expected to use the same Purbeck stone decoration from their designs for Corfe. However, the shed and water tower comprise random sized blocks resulting in uneven mortar runs. At Corfe the blocks are more uniform and the mortar runs are straight. This has caused me to design a new stone decoration paper for Corfe.

By the way, I am using is Epson Durabrite ® Ultra printing ink for excellent colour retention.  Some of my own models are seven years old and show no sign of colour fading.

The windows in this assembled model are 3D printed plastic with transparent acetate faux glass. The upper sashes are separate parts glued to the frames. For the card kit the windows are part of the kit data file for printing on paper with acetate faux glass.

I'm using 3D printed plastic in this assembled model because it is easier to replicate windows and, arguably, more accurate. The downside is the mechanical CAD design takes me longer than the graphic designed versions for the card kit. This is because the plastic part has 3 dimensional relief, requiring more design effort than the flat paper version.

To Part 4.

To Part 1.

Wednesday, 24 January 2018

4mm Scale Corfe Castle Station Building - 2

The building plan published in 'London & South Western Railway' by Robert Antwell, isbn 0-7110-1420-5 is the basis for the design. In common with other books of plans for modellers that I have seen it is probably not the original architects drawing. Therefore, its accuracy is questionable.

This uncertainty can be mitigated to a large degree with reference to photographs of the building, especially if a full frontal view can be found. These can be scaled and overlaid on the plan to check proportions and architectural details. Even so, the camera position, usually at about 5' off the ground, distorts dimensions due to perspective.

I have already found that the Chimneys of the Station Master's House are incorrectly positioned on the plan when compared to a photograph in the manner described above. At the end of the day (and without a site visit to measure every dimension - virtually impossible or, an architects drawing) all we can hope is to get as close as possible and there is no doubt it will be recognisable as Corfe Castle Station Building.

Importing a plan and/or photographs into a graphic editing Application and then scaling is a great way to start the design of a building because all the windows, doors and other architectural features fall into position without effort.

This building lends itself to being designed in a modular form. This, together with room dividing walls results in greater rigidity.

The photo shows the first module shell, which is the gable end of the station master's quarters, shown overlaid on the first sheet of the card kit.

The prototype has many intricate ornate details and many of the smaller ones will need to be simplified or omitted for practiality. So far, one feature that gives cause for concern is the roof rafters that (unusually) protrude through the walls. These are highly visible on the prototype and whilst time consuming parts to make I feel must be included. I could think of no easy way to represent the protrusions so, 25 rafters for this module alone will be made. You can see the slots at the top of the side walls where they will poke through.

Sometimes, having designed parts and built the first one a flaw or difficulty is revealed and the design process has to be repeated. I hope that will not arise too often but these rafters are a point in question. If they are less visible on the model than the prototype then they may be removed from the card kit to make construction simple.

To Part 3.

To Part 1.

Monday, 22 January 2018

4mm Scale Corfe Castle Station Building

Anyone who has visited my main website will soon discover that I have a small shop there selling 4mm scale Building card kits. Recently I started to offer assembled models, hand built from the kits.

A customer contacted me interested in buying a built up model of Corfe Castle station building, if one was available from me. Well, currently it is not available but after discussion we came to an agreement that I would design a kit of the building for inclusion in my catalogue and supply him an assembled model. This is my next project and is expected to take a couple of months to complete.

The card kits require paper, grey board, acetate and wire to build a model. The assembled model for this project will use 3D plastic printed parts for some details.

I doubt the card kit will generate many sales because it is a unique building for a specific location, unlike my other models that lend themselves to multiple localities. However, I have a cunning plan that might make it more marketable.

This posting is the first of a series that will cover the development of the kit and build of the model.

I have a 2mm scale plan of the building so, the first job is to scan this and enlarge it to 4mm scale. 

To Part 2.

Saturday, 20 January 2018

Project 18 - Embellishments

30 x fish crates just like that.

Lobster pots were a bit more involved to make. I looked at proprietary models but they appeared to be a block of material with dimples to represent netting - not ideal.

I wanted a mesh netting with 0.5 to 1mm holes and found this at Sainsbury's supermarket in the form of laundry bags, specifically Korband laundry bags two per pack.

I 3D printed the hoops and base in plastic and stuck these together. The size of pot is 8 mm x 6 mm x 4 mm. A strip of mesh 7 mm wide was wrapped around a pin and pushed through the hoops fixing in place with two drops of glue after pin was removed. The ends were glued to mesh that was then cut around when dry. The finished pots were painted with acrylic paint.

I intended to make 30 pots but the assembly is so tedious I only made 24.

Fishing nets were made for the Trawler using the same mesh product painted with acrylics.

That almost finishes the project. I shall add people to the scene, to be purchased at the EM gauge show in May.

About a month's hobby time was required to make the diorama.

It is worth reflecting on the value of such a small project that on the face of it has no other purpose than eye candy.

  • A diorama is a good way of experimenting with new modelling techniques before embarking on a larger project The methods used here of embedding rails in the ground and modelling water and lobster pots were new to me.
  • The finished scene can be used for photo sessions of various railway wagons and locomotives on the jetty.
  • Various scenes can be created using people, goods and maybe seagulls.
THE END (for now)

Mmm... How about sound effects with a sound chip and speaker hidden inside the jetty?

To Part 9.

To Part 1.

Thursday, 18 January 2018

Project 18 - Model Water From Toilet Paper

No waves, just rippled water in a protected harbour is required. Whilst searching for suitable modelling methods I came across a YouTube tutorial that in my humble opinion is the quickest, easiest and most authentic means of creating modelled water on the cheap.

Here is the link:


Having extended the box forward (last posting) I also extended the box sideways using mirrors giving the appearance of a longer jetty with an extra boat moored alongside.

The trawler height (not including masts) only just fits the box so it cannot sit on top of the thick water layer. I made a template same size as the trawler footprint, blutac'd it in place and cut the toilet paper to fit around it. Having glued the three layers of paper in place the template was removed.

When dry I painted the paper using the same colours and method cited in the tutorial.

Finally, 3 coats of flooring clear gloss sealer brought the water to life.

Not too sure about the muddy colour. Photos of the water at low tide I have seen show it green! I guess it depends on the ambient light conditions so could vary from black to brown to green to blue.

No photographs that I have seen from the period (1960s) show a ladder fixed to the jetty for boat access. If a photo turns up showing a ladder I'll add it.

I found that inclining the back scene gave a better appearance than it  being vertical. It is held in place with light blue ribbon. Unfortunately I failed to achieve a seamless transition between back scene and model across the hinge. A few more wagons placed on the jetty will hide that.

To Part 8.

To Part 1.

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