Saturday 30 July 2011

Tinker's Park - In The Sun!

After the drizzle of last year's Railway gala at Tinker's Park, this year's event was warm and sunny, well rather too hot in the tiny coaches with little ventilation! Still, what better way to spend a sunny summer afternoon than around steam trains, steam rollers and traction engines, and model railways too! It turned out to be a long day, having spent the morning at the local Fire Station open day, including a ride in a fire engine. My son rated the fire engine above the steam train and steam roller rides of the aftenoon, but still insisted he liked trains more than I did - he must really really like fire engines then!

Visiting loco this year was Kidbrooke, a rather nice Bagnall 0-4-0, sharing duties with the resident steam loco Sao Domingos, an O&K 0-6-0. It was good to see the line has been extended since last year, by about 50 yards, and the "station" improved. There was a collection of industrial locos too, this photo (below) should come in useful when I come to paint those KBScale skips I have ...

The volunteers at Tinker's Park have been busy in the past year, there being a new railway shed. So new the rails in the floor haven't yet been connected to the railway outside, but it was in use for the model railway exhibition. There was a reasonable selection of layouts, but the highlight for me was Raven Rock, portraying a slate quarry in 0-16.5, and including a working balance incline. The scenery and detail was superb, so no apologies for including a couple of photos!

More photos below:

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Saturday 23 July 2011

Animal Barn Painted

You've probably guessed from recent posts that there have been distractions from modelling of late, however I have been making slow progress with little things. For example some detailing parts for Awngate have been primed and are being painted, and there are some more wagons for Landswood Park on the workbench. More on those another time, but I have also completed the animal barn.

The bricks were painted individually, in a similar manner to the the other buildings. The wood was given several coats of thinned enamels to get the almost-black creosote of the wooden structure at Tatton, the corrugated iron roof is also near-black to represent the tar coating used in the days before zinc plating. However what has really brought it to life is a dusting of weathering powders, a grey to give to woodwork a fading, silvery hint, which nicely emphasises the grain of the wood, and the first signs of rust on the roof.

This is the view that will be apparent once on the layout. The final job was to attach the doors, which puzzled me as there would be virtually no material to glue (the hinges are imitation). My solution was to drill small holes into the edge of the doors, and into the end of the planking at the sides of the doorway. I then used L-shaped pieces of steel wire (well, staples) pushed into the doors then into the sides of the opening. The result is virtually invisible but works well, I haven't even added any glue.
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Thursday 21 July 2011

The making of the Octopod

For those of you without small children and who don't have to watch CBeebies, the Octonauts are a band of animal characters who come to the rescue of sea creatures using various sub-sea ships, and of course have an underwater base called the Octopod (that's the orange thing in the picture below). Now my son is mad about the show so we recently got him a magazine all about the Octonauts, including toy characters, and in the back of the magazine were instructions on how to make your own Octopod.

So having collected the required parts together - a tub from a shop-bought trifle, some of those yoghurt pots that are almost spherical, tin foil and of course a toilet roll tube, we were ready to start in true "Blue Peter" fashion. The instructions said to paint the pots orange, but of course the food container plastic refused to take paint, so I trundled off to the garage where I happened to have a can of red-oxide primer!

The photo contains evidence of "proper" modelling too, a batch of whitemetal details for Awngate are getting a coat of grey primer in what passes for my spray booth!

My wife gave them a couple of coats of orange poster paint mixed with PVA, the result is still a bit red but never mind, my Son and I were set for a Sunday afternoon of cutting and sticking. I attached the yoghurt pot pods using drinking straws with pipe cleaners inside, which involved a drill and a pair of pliers, they are somewhat wobbly! The printed "windows" from the magazine were stuck in place and the Octopod was ready for the Octonauts to move in!

A bit of a change from "serious" model railways (not that I ever take it too seriously I hope!) but a bit of fun that should encourage a 4-year-old boy to think that making things is fun. Roll-on the Airfix kits ...!
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Thursday 14 July 2011

Holiday Season Part 2: Devon

A couple of weeks ago we were in Devon, one of my favourite places and not just because of the cream teas (although that is a factor!). The scenery is great and there are loads of things to do, even with small children, including of course the beach. This is the beach at Goodrington:

Conveniently there is a good view of the Paignton & Dartmouth Steam Railway, which runs from Paignton to Kingswear (where you can get a ferry across the river to Dartmouth). However between Goodrington and Kingswear is a large rocky hill, and as you can see the climb out of the station is quite severe. Makes the beach more interesting...

Of course we took a trip on the train (my wife is getting suspicious that potential holiday locations are being selected on the basis of nearby steam railways, I can't imagine where that idea comes from!). Close-up it is clear how such a long train was pulled up that bank by what appeared to be just a Prairie tank - it is not a Prairie, but a 2-8-0 originally built to haul coal out of the Welsh valleys!

The steep climbs, viaducts and a tunnel, along with impressive sea and river views, made for a very enjoyable trip. Let's face it, many of the preserved lines are not so privileged with their surroundings. The Dartmouth ferry made for a day out too, and we popped in to see the Newcomen steam engine at the tourist information office. I was rather proud of this shot of the train leaving Kingswear, taken on full zoom from my compact camera, across the river Dart.

A completely different railway journey took us down the cliffs at Babbacombe to the beach!

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Thursday 7 July 2011

Holiday Season Part 1: Isle of Wight

Model making time has been limited over the last couple of months, but it is holiday season. Back in May we were on the Isle of Wight, which meant of course a trip on the IoW Steam Railway!

Spotted from the train was this grounded coach body in a field (actually it was one of two), nice inspiration for a model?

Finally on the way back accross the Solent we saw this Aircraft Carrier. Clearly not one of ours! This was the USS George Washington, and at 99,000 Tonnes I doubt it could get into Portsmouth harbour! Since it is nuclear powered, the red vessel is probably delivering fuel for the aircraft. It was easy to figure out what it was doing there, the previous week Obama had been visiting the UK ...

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