Saturday 30 June 2012


I've always rather liked the Eggerbahn "OEG" coaches, with their large saloon windows, end balconies and rounded roof-ends they have a feel of the Welshpool & Llanfair "Pickering" coaches. Being H0e scale they are somewhat smaller than the Welshpool coaches, but actually fit quite well with most 009 stock, and anyway smaller coaches make a small layout seem bigger! So I thought a couple of them would make a rather nice tramway-style train for Awngate.

For some reason these coaches sometimes seem to attract silly money on evilbay, but I had one I got from the 009 society sales stand a few years ago before prices rocketed, and picked up another at a reasonable price recently. Neither are "mint", having just one step each (they are rather vulnerable) so they are ripe for "bashing" into something more British-looking.

As you can see the first thing to do was to cut away the raised "OEG" motif from the side, a tricky job with much careful sanding to get the side smooth. The next step is to dis-assemble the coach ready for further work. The roof is glued on, one came off with careful leverage but on the other coach it seemed to have more glue - and when it did eventually come away it broke one of the windows with it. However, that may not be a problem...

While at NG South I spied some Egger coach conversions on Charlie Insley's layout, Winter Overcoates. As well as modifications to the balconies and underframes, and repainting into GWR livery (similar to the Welshpool coaches), one has been turned into a guards/brake coach.

Awngate only has space for two bogie coaches, and that doesn't leave much room for a brake van, so perhaps a brake composite would be a good idea? However I don't want too much of the coach given over to the guard, so having studied the Welshpool brake composite I have come up with this proposal:

Apologies for the basic MS-Paint doodle, I don't run to Photoshop, but you get the idea! Half the coach is still a Third class saloon (originally Second), then there is a small guards/parcels compartment with a single door, and finally a First class compartment. Perhaps a look-out ducket would add character, but it seems unnecessary and there isn't really space.

Monday 18 June 2012

Shoreham Show

On Saturday I visited a small charity show in Shoreham-by-Sea, held in a church/hall and organised as part of a local arts festival - there was a flower show in the community centre opposite, and a photography society show at another church nearby. It had a small collection of layouts, including the local N-gauge modular layout which doesn't inspire me much, but does at least have trains running and some Thomas characters to keep my Son happy! There was also the obligatory modern-image DCC-and-sound 00 layout, a couple of N-gauge layouts and a couple of traders.

One stand had this compact 009 layout (by Geoff Peters), with nice buildings and clearly with lots of operating potential although it wasn't doing much operating. There were some micro/pizza layouts on show with it, the aim to show what can be done in a small space.

Rheineauz (Z gauge) by David and Iris Guscott featured the Rhine running right down the middle, busy with riverboat traffic - on the move! The river was perspex or similar, and had a chain running underneath with magnets attached. The boats were pulled along, doing a U turn at each end. Simple, but very effective! This layout used Z gauge to it's best potential, with trains running along both banks of the river, big girder bridges crossing the river and other tracks at each end, lots of German houses and even the steep vineyards lining the river valley. The boats looked the part too, despite their small size, some of the freight barges even had a car perched on the aft cabin just like they often do on the Continent. It really captured the feel of the Rhine, Neckar and other German rivers, and the interest of the viewer.

Bourne (009) by Graham Stenning was for me the layout of the show. OK I may be biased in favour of 009, but the scenery and buildings were nicely done, the stock well put together and interesting, and it ran well too. The Bourne Valley Railway is well known on the exhibition circuit, but I don't think I've seen this part of the extensive layout before.

Another view of Bourne, the daylight coming through the windows didn't make photography easy but I think this photo has come out well.

It just goes to show that even a local charity show can turn up some interesting layouts.
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Wednesday 13 June 2012

Bon Voyage!

Well as you can see, the Titanic is finally finished, and ready for delivery to it's owner. The painting took a while, being quite intricate, but the time taken feels worthwhile as it really brings the model to life. This is one of those kits where painting some of the parts before assembly may have been easier, but I find the plastic solvent does not work so well through paint so I prefer to assemble first.

There are some compromises. The plastic masts are so fragile that both broke during construction. Despite trying to repair them they just looked wonky and snapped if touched. So I have left them about 1/2" short, more robust and not really noticeable. The railings around the bow and stern disintegrated when removing from the sprue, and despite being over-scale were clearly too fragile to fit. I haven't even attempted rigging as that too would be over-scale and would look worse than not doing it - unless you have a lot more skill than I do!

I mentioned the internals in a previous post, the main superstructure lifts off for access. As you can see there is a battery compartment, and a motor driving the two outer propellers through a gearbox and the two flexible rubber shafts just visible. The prop-shafts run through compartments packed with Vaseline to make a watertight seal. There are also two small bulbs to light the ship, a nice touch although the effect isn't that great! The small slide-switch right at the rear (right of photo) turns it all on, and is accessed via a gap between the cargo hatches just behind the stern mast. I've added a little roofing lead ballast towards the bow - much less and further forward than the instructions suggested, but according to what seemed necessary in my kitchen-sink test!

To keep the model safe I strengthened the box it came in with some corrugated card, then cut some expanded polystyrene foam to create a snug hole to slot the ship into. There is even space for the included stand.

The lettering and flags came from the transfers included in the kit, I've not used transfers for a long time so had to remember how they worked! The carrier film is rather visible (more obvious in the photos), the flags were really fiddly (yes they are transfers too!), and the lettering has not stuck down that well. Since the photos I've given the model a quick coat of varnish to hopefully seal them.

The rear view shows the propellers, the centre one is fixed but the outer two are the powered ones. They fouled the side of the ship and needed significant trimming, which has probably reduced their efficiency somewhat! Still I don't think performance is the point of this model. The rudder can be repositioned too.

Despite the compromises and flaws I am rather pleased with the result. At 380mm (about 15 inches) long by 45mm (under 2 inches) wide it is a small and fiddly model to make, and yet while a plastic kit is reasonably straightforward to build in places it is clear that plastic is not really robust enough for this. It's been an interesting diversion from my usual model railways, but not really my thing - so I don't expect any more model ships on my workbench. Unless they are intended for a model railway layout perhaps...!
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Monday 11 June 2012

Narrow Gauge on Hayling Island

En-route to our holiday recently we stopped off at Hayling Island, to have a ride on the Hayling Seaside Railway. This little 2' gauge pleasure line, which only opened in 2003, starts from behind the Funland funfair at Beachlands. For it's entire route of just over a mile it runs along the back of the shingle beach, with a passing station mid-way (Mengham Road) and a simple terminus at Eastoke Corner.

Jack, the main motive power, is an Alan Keef steam-outline diesel hydraulic, which very much looks the part even if it is a "fake". I understand the railway hopes to have a steam loco eventually. (I should point out that this was the "Jubilee" week-end, hence the smoke-box decoration - I presume it does not always run decorated with flags!)

At the sheds behind Funland a couple of other diesels are being seen to. Full details of the loco fleet are on the railway's website. The coaches are very nicely finished, built at the company's own "Loston Bodge"(!) works.

The train travels at a leisurely pace along it's largely unfenced route, much to the amusement of my Son who found he could keep up by running!
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