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Thursday 21 March 2019

I've Only Gone and Done It!

I have always looked upon 0 gauge (7mm) rolling stock and layouts with a degree of envy. Can't put my finger on it, perhaps it's the sheer size that appeals to my masculinity. The reason I never worked in this scale is the cost of items and the space required, both being about twice as much as 00 gauge. (More than twice the cost if wanting a tender locomotive and rake of coaches.)

Having seen Arun Quay at the recent Basingstoke show my concerns about space requirements were quashed because here was a 7mm scale layout in only about 7 feet that gives an authentic looking scene with operating potential. I became hooked.

Arun Quay is a shunting layout using the LB&SCR  'Terrier' tank engine and a few wagons. The 'Terrier', or A1x to give it its class name, is an attractive locomotive to the eye. I set about browsing eBay for similar and came across the highly detailed Dapol RTR offering (Arun Quay's is kit construction).

The RRP of the Dapol is £225 but I found and bid on a second hand model (32661) that had a couple of minor cosmetic issues. I won the auction for a price considerably less than the RRP. On its arrival it looked as good as new with very little evidence of use and I quickly fixed the cosmetic problems.

I have no other 7mm items, not even track but, I set up two lengths side by side of old Triang Hornby 00 Series 4 to test the loco, which ran perfectly. (The 2p in the photo is to indicate the scale and not the price I paid!)

The prototype 32661 was allocated to the Hayling Island Branch Line from the 1930s until withdrawl in 1963 and the shed code on the model indicates the home shed to be Eastleigh.

My plan initially is to acquire a small range of wagons. In order to minimise cost they will probably be scratch built. In fact when it comes to track and scenic items then scratch building must be the norm to save on cost.

I have in mind a 16T mineral wagon with coal load, a 15T ballast wagon converted to carry new SR line side huts (Ref: The Model Railway Journal #62), a SR box van and a goods brake van. I expect a few more will follow and maybe a Brake 3rd coach. It all depends on how good my scratch building is.

When I have sufficient to operate a shunting yard I'll turn my attention to a layout. To accommodate this in the railway room one of my other layouts will need to go to make space. The layout location is likely to be fictitious but, influenced by Southern practise and landscape.

I have to admit that it all sounds a bit daunting for me. When I moved from 00 to N I had no qualms but moving up to 0 gauge requires greater emphasis on detailing in order to create an authentic scene like Arun Quay. I'll be disappointed if I cannot achieve that benchmark.

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