Tuesday, 17 May 2022

Preparing for SWING

Both Loctern Quay, and my son's Slugworth & Co., will be at the "SWING" narrow gauge show in Worthing this Saturday.


Since both layouts were out last month at Narrow Gauge South, and generally performed well, there is little preparation to worry about. However, one of the new trucks I'd made insisted on derailing through facing points. Strangely, it hadn't done this in testing, but after derailing repeatably at the show it was quickly banished back to the stock box. 

This kit uses the new type of wheels which have much finer flanges than older wheels, and a wider back-to-back measurement. For some reason the flange was hitting the vee of the point and riding up - clearly not checked by the check-rail. That reason was most likely to be skew axles. 


Can you see them? It is barely perceptible until looked at closely, and took a couple of attempts to get a photo that shows the skew. Of course correcting this means moving one of the sole-bars lengthways to align the axle boxes. I scored along the join between the sole-bar and floor and cut down the ends of the sole-bar, then flooded the joins with solvent. Some firm but gentle persuasion with smooth-jaw pliers got the sole-bar free in one piece, and with a reasonably clean break apart from some material left in the corners. 


The sole-bar and floor were cleaned up, then with one end trimmed slightly the sole-bar was reaffixed, taking care to ensure the axles are completely perpendicular to them this time! Surprisingly the botched fix is not visible, except perhaps right in the corners of buffer beam, sole-bar and floor - which you can't see in practice. I didn't even need to touch up the paint.

So the fix was easier than feared, and just shows how important it is to check the axles are square to the chassis. Testing on the layout seems to confirm the tendency to derail is fixed, though of course the only real test is to run it at an exhibition. 

Do say hello if you are at SWING. 

Wednesday, 27 April 2022

Narrow Gauge South (Part 2)

 Onward with more photos from NGS...


Clyre Valley Railway (009) by Tim Couling


This is a large U-shaped layout set in North Cornwall, but I seemed most attracted to this viaduct! The locos and stock are attractively modelled too. 


Bridport Town (O-16.5) by David Taylor - an old favourite of mine.




So no apologies for lots of photos, although they are not the sharpest!


Turtle Bay (009) by Rob Rossington - big trains in an exotic location


Pyn Valley Railway (O9) by Christopher Payne. What an evocative scene in a really compact space. 


Tony's Forest (O14) by Robin Edwards. It really is set in a forest which is impressive (from a modelling perspective) and atmospheric. Peering through the trees reveals delightful details.


However, catching a good photo of a train is challenging - at least with a standard camera by hand given limited time! This is one of many layouts I'd have liked more time to study, so I hope to see it again. Maybe next time that logging crew will have cleared a few more trees...


Gideon Postlethwaite (O9) by Steve Green. 


I did like this detail scene. Maybe these chaps will be wiring in that transformer?

 
Fintonagh (O21) by David Holman is a beautifully modelled portrayal of the Clogher Valley Railway in Ireland, albeit an imaginary branch. I've admired this layout before, so didn't spend long looking at it. 


Slindon Vale (O16.5) by James Edwards.

I'll admit these aren't the best photos I've ever taken, and there were many more layouts I either didn't get time for a good look at, or my photos were too rubbish to use. I didn't even look at the trade stands at all, except for a brief scout of the 009 sales shortly before the show opened. The day was a bit of a blur to be honest, and while I spoke to lots of people I'm sure there are people I missed, or couldn't stop to talk to. It was, of course, a great day...

Tuesday, 26 April 2022

Narrow Gauge South 2022 (Part 1)

Last Saturday both Loctern Quay and Slugworth & Co. were at Narrow Gauge South, having been delayed a couple of years! It was good to be back at a large narrow gauge show for the first time since 2019, and see lots of familiar and meet new faces. NGS is always an excellent show, and large with around 25 layouts, although when showing a layout (or two) it is hard to spare time for a good look round. I did take some photos, though being rather rushed many of them didn't come out too well. 


Just before the show opened my son tests his layout, with the sweets ready for the kids (young and older) who can spot all the details. We had many comments on how much bigger/older Joshua looked compared to his photo when building the layout almost 4 years ago! On the left Phil Savage practices operating Loctern Quay - he did get the hang of the shunting puzzle eventually. A big thanks to Phil. Tim Sanderson, and Simon Wilson who helped us out at different times of the day. 


It was nice to see my old layout Awngate being shown by its new owner James Edwards. He has spruced up the scenery in places but otherwise it is unchanged. 


Fellow Sussex Downs group member Martin Collins was showing his fabulous 009 layout Llandecwyn, and using most of the club members to help out. 


I was pleased to see Nic Arthur's new layout, Hazelcombe (009). Nic has a real talent for scenery. I took these photos during set-up and had meant to take some more later...


Nic also has a sense of humour it seems!


The Dovey Valley railway (009) by Dick Wyatt is a true classic from 30 years ago, even featuring in a Two Ronnies sketch. It incorporates a long run of track and two stations in a moderate space, while allowing long trains. 


This was said to be Dovey Valley's last showing and despite its age, it deservedly won best in show. 


The Dovey Valley was an inspiration to me as a young 009 modeller, thanks to featuring in an old Model Railway Constructor annual. 


It was good to see Jamie Warne with his atmospheric Sandy Shores layout (009).


It's such an original imaginative layout, and nicely modelled. 


I liked Woody Green Basin (009) by Phil Russel, which shows what can be done in a compact space with both operational and scenic interest. 


Charles Insley's Ulvaryd (Stand) (009) is based on Swedish narrow gauge, and makes another attractive and unusual layout. 


This attractive scene is Tan-Y-Llyn (009) by Steve Flay. 

Next to Loctern Quay was Garreg Wen (009) by Matthew Kean. It's become a well-known and popular layout thanks to its superbly modelled locos and stock based on Welsh railway prototypes, as well as the Welsh-inspired scenery. 

I'll follow this up with a part 2 covering more layouts... 

Friday, 22 April 2022

Finishing three little wagons

The three little wagons have now been through the paint shop. I find paint covers much better over a primer, even when painting plain plastic, so all got a spray of grey automotive primer. Since they are destined to be used as part of the shunting puzzle on Loctern Quay, they each needed to look distinctive.

I decided to paint the steel open wagon in the "Dutch" yellow and grey livery once used by British Rail for their engineering department wagons. Of course, Loctern Quay is set pre-war long before British Rail, but it's a distinctive livery, and why not? I applied a coat of white, then of yellow onto the sides. When dry, Tamia masking tape was pressed firmly onto the upper part of each side, and another coat of the grey primer spray applied. This worked surprisingly well, and the primer is a good wagon grey colour. 

A piece of foam-core board cut to fit neatly in the wagon had the card face removed on one side, and the foam carved to a mound. Painted black, it was covered in ballast. The wagon was weathered, and had couplings and a little lead sheet fitted underneath. 

Looking for a recognisable load for the flat wagon I found a model cable drum in my bits box, it may be by Knightwing but I am not sure. It was painted, given a cotton thread "cable", and a supporting frame made from plastic strip. I've no idea if this is how a cable drum would be secured, perhaps a rope or two would be needed, but it looks plausible. The wagon got a bauxite brown livery, since most of my wagons are grey. 

The Corris-style van also got the bauxite/brown livery, and like the other wagons a basic weathering treatment of a well-thinned brown wash and a dusting of weathering powder. This had longer (Microtrains 1016) couplings fitted, since I had some (I'm running low on 1015s) and the buffer beams were very deep. 


 Finally of course, a wagon card was made up for each, so they can be used in the shunting puzzle.

So the new wagons are ready for service on Loctern Quay at Narrow Gauge South at Eastleigh tomorrow. Do say hello if you can make it. 

Wednesday, 20 April 2022

Slugworth & Co. in Railway Modeller


My son Joshua's layout features in Railway Modeller (May 2022)!

I'd actually been suggesting he write an article since he won an award in the Dave Brewer challenge at the 2018 EXPO-NG. However, only when the editor Steve Flint got in touch to suggest an article did he decide to - and even then with some help and encouragement! The article tells why he built the layout and the thinking behind its design, as well as how. 

The article points out that Slugworth & Co. will be at Narrow Gauge South exhibition in Eastleigh this Saturday (as will my layout Loctern Quay). Do say hi if you see us. If you are looking for the boy in the photos in the article, it is surprising how much he has grown in the three and a half years since he finished the layout...

Sunday, 17 April 2022

Transport Curiosities

Some inventions changed the world. The steam train, the motor car, and the aeroplane have each revolutionised transport. The monorail, airship, and autogyro didn't catch on in the same way. In Transport Curiosities 1850-1950 John Wade explores some of the curious ideas inventors have promoted for transportation over the century when mankind moved from primitive railways to the jet plane. 


Some of the ideas, such as early submarines and flying machines, developed into practical technologies which we see in use today. However, many leave us wondering, what on earth were their creators thinking? Trains and cars driven by propellers, mono-wheeled vehicles, bicycles with wings? What about a train to the centre of the earth? Of course many of these never got beyond a drawing, but some incredible inventions - including a railway along the sea bed - actually got built. 


The book is packed full of these curious and sometimes crazy inventions, profusely illustrated with contemporary photos or engravings. The text is brief for most, although some get more details, there is just enough to be interesting without getting technical or historical. Some of the chapters show how curious concepts were the forerunners of transportation we have today, but many of the concepts shown were destined to remain dead ends. However, this isn't really a book for those who want to know the development of transport, this is an entertaining review of the imagination of inventors. Whether you have an interest in transport, engineering invention, or just the quirky and unusual, this is indeed a curious gem of a book. 

Saturday, 2 April 2022

Little wagons

I thought it would be nice to have another van for Loctern Quay, so I was looking for a small van that looked different to the others, and preferably had some character. At the Doncaster Show I found a Dundas (ex Rodney Stenning) kit for the Corris Railway brake van. 


Now I don't need a brake van and the Corris van only had a door on one side, but the kit includes parts to have a door on both sides and to replace the windows with ventilators. I also omitted the side buffers and filled the holes, and fitted handles to the door and doorframe but not the corners of the van. 


Unusually the kit has whitemetal underframe sides, which give some useful low-down weight, though I may still add a little lead. I simply stuck them with Bostik, but added strips of plastic behind their ends to ensure they stay in place. The wheels are the new type supplied by Dundas, which having the correct back-to-back spacing and no separate tyres to come loose are an improvement on the previous wheels, but are solid disc rather than spoked. The holes in the floor are to allow solvent fumes to escape after fitting the roof. 


Both the floor and the roof are pieces of plasticard needing cutting to size, although the roof is pre-curved. This does mean a little extra work and care compared to a more modern kit, although the mouldings are clean and the parts fit together well making it a nice kit to build. I added microstrip to the tops of the sides as shown for the roof to glue to, to help prevent the roof being pulled down against the side here. 


I've also built a couple more of the 009 Society kits, another flat wagon and a steel sided wagon. I'll have to think of different/interesting loads for these. 


The little Corris-style van is a good size match for these small wagons. Next, the paint shop.