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Wednesday 10 September 2014

The Only Way is Up

Over the past few years I have been heavily involved in building two 'N' gauge layouts, each about 6 feet x 3 feet. The first one was made in a spare bedroom but, could not stay there indefinitely. After completion it was stored rather inconveniently in my '00' gauge Railway Room where it could not be operated easily. The second, which is still a work in progress, has been built over the summer in the garage. I don't want to keep it there all the time as it is a conventional garage that is uninsulated, experiencing extremes of temperature across the seasons.

One of the N gauge layouts is a scale model of Cliddesden Station on the Basingstoke and Alton Light Railway. The real station building is nothing more than a large corrugated 'shed'. Our first idea was to build a smaller version of it in the garden to house the N gauge layouts. It is an interesting idea to build a railway room that looks like a station building of the line. The garden is big enough to hold it but of the available plots the best place for it is in full view from the lounge window, which did not go down to well with the domestic authority and besides, construction of a bespoke shed could be quite a lengthy project in itself.

The existing Railway Room is one side of a double garage that has been boarded up and insulated. The next thought was to extend it into the other side. Yet more heavy work and destroys any hope of using it for the purpose it was built - a car.

Was there any chance of reorganising the Railway Room? The existing 00 gauge layout sits at a height of about 38 inches supported on multiple pairs of legs. What if the height was raised and legs eliminated? This would offer a massive open space beneath for the N gauge layouts. Well, that is what was done.

The 00 gauge layout was raised to a height of about 50 inches. This was chosen as optimum for a 6 foot person to still have a good view standing up or sat on a bar stool and be able to reach the far side of the layout with ease. Shorter adults over 5 feet also get a good view.

To eliminate the support legs an open frame was constructed that screwed to three walls. The middle of the fourth side is supported by timber suspended from a ceiling joist. The layout sits on top of the frame. I have to say this is a great working height as everything is brought closer to eye level and the bridging board that spans the access point does not need to lift as only a small stoop under is needed to enter.

The two N gauge layouts are portable layouts for exhibition. In the Railway Room they simply rest on wheeled trolleys set to a height of 33 inches. This allows them to be moved easily if access to the rear side is required. A sitting position on a standard chair is adopted when operating the layouts. One of the layouts is mostly uncovered, lit from the same ceiling light that illuminates the 00 gauge layout. The other, which is directly beneath the 00 gauge layout, is lit from an LED batten fixed to the 00 gauge support frame.

The view in the photo may appear a little confusing because the background to the 00 gauge station (top left) is a mirrored wall to reflect layout features not normally seen from this side. The single drop down frame support from the ceiling is painted blue to try and disguise it (unsuccessfully).

Friday 5 September 2014

GBL BoB - Part 8

The choice of name for my BR(S) Bulleid West Country pacific conversion from the GBL BoB posed no problem at all. Those who follow this Blog or visit my model railway website will know my layout is based on Crewkerne in Somerset. Since my track plan is much simpler than early 1960s Crewkerne I named the station after the nearby village of Misterton, which is in fact closer to the station than the town! In homage to the real station it is fitting to name the model locomotive after it - Crewkerne.

The full size locomotive was built at Brighton works, entering service in September 1946 as 21C140 and named Crewkerne in October 1948. It was rebuilt (air smooth casing removed etc.) in October 1960 at which point the tender was changed to the low sided variant. In original configuration it was first allocated to Stewarts Lane shed for south eastern routes and then transferred to Bournemouth shed for Waterloo to central southern England services. It also hauled the Pines Express over the Somerset & Dorset Joint Railway. I am doubtful it was used on BR(S) south west routes although it has been reported hauling the Plymouth to Brighton train in 1949. Whether it ventured into the south west or took over this train at Salisbury I do not know. Nevertheless, it operates on my layout through Crewkerne a.k.a. Misterton in the summer of 1960 shortly before it went for rebuild.

On the model the lining, side panel numbers and BR crest are from HMRS Pressfix transfer sheets. The Crewkerne and West Country Class banners, shield and smoke box door number were designed in a graphic editing Application using a resolution of 600 pixels and printed on sticky label. The final addition to the model was a Hornby speedometer cable, which required a plasticard pocket to be made for holding the cable bracket tab behind the side panel.

I said to myself several times that it is finished and then found something that needed doing. More detailing and GBL design corrections could be carried out but I think this will do nicely. It sits well alongside my super detailed Hornby locomotives and is far superior to my Airfix/Kemilway BoB model that I built over 30 years ago.

Purchased 'super detailing' parts amounted to £14.45 bringing the total cost to £61.43 plus bits from my spares box and some DIY 3D printed components.

To Part 1.

Wednesday 3 September 2014

GBL BoB - Part 7

More detailing described in this post.

Up first is the safety valves, a significant and noticeable part of the roof but sadly missing completely from the GBL model and presumably the Hornby variant that it was copied from.

The safety valves and surrounding housing is a white metal casting from Regent III of Coventry. Bought it from a trader at Andover Modelex. I can't find Regent III on the web but RT Models have the exact same part. All I needed to do was accurately cut a rectangular hole in the roof to accept the implant. I also took the opportunity to beef up the T shaped whistle with plastic card. It was just a whisker on the GBL model. I had a look at the roof of 34007 Wadebridge in a video and noted these parts were black with grime instead of shiny brass so I have coloured likewise.

Moving down the loco the next photo shows fitted loco crew (Langley models) and window glass. The latter cut from transparent plastic packaging.

Next we have the head code disks for the Waterloo -Exeter route.

Finally, below deck, are the cylinder drain pipes. These are made from copper wire and butt glued to the cylinders. I think this is a bit too fragile and when they break off I'll remake them and drill some holes in the cylinders for insertion. That will be stronger. The pipes stick out sideways more than they should to allow the bogie to negotiate model track curves without interference.

To Part 8.

To Part 1.

Tuesday 2 September 2014

Andover Modelex 2014

A pleasant Sunday morning spent at this exhibition. Pleasant, because fewer people attending on a Sunday meant exhibits could be viewed more comfortably.

At least twenty layouts and many traders spread over two large school halls. A couple of scenic 7mm scale layouts caught my eye, one of them being Swyncombe. The thing about a scenic 7mm or O gauge, apart from its size, is that a lack of modelled detail is more noticeable than in the smaller scales. Thankfully, not the case here.

My 'best layout' award goes to Much Murkle, a 1930s GWR barnchline. On first look I could not make out what gauge this finely detailed layout is and enquired if it was EM.

"No" came the reply, "it's 00 gauge".
"What track components did you use?"
"None, its Peco."

Well that was a surprise as it looked modelled.

"And its code 100".

Now I was speechless. I have never seen Peco code 100 looking as realistic as this.

It took a while for me to realise that what fooled me was the extensive weathering applied to the track work and the removal of the bumps from the electrofrog turnouts' tie bars. The weathering cleverly disguised the code 100 bulky rail profile.

At this mid-size sized exhibition I was not expecting to find many of my purchase requirements from the trade. How wrong could I be. All but one from my list was obtained, most of which were rather specialist.  I must give a plug to 'Rural Railways', a trader who only operates from exhibitions. He has a wide stock of 'bits and pieces for bringing your model railway to life' This time he had a Bulleid unrebuilt West Country safety valves implant I needed for my GBL BoB project. Now that is an obscure item and one that normally may only be found at dedicated finescale exhibitions like Expo Em.

Oh, the one item I did not find was standard Humbol enamel paint, would you believe.

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