Wednesday 14 November 2018

Thakeham in BRM

Thakeham features in December's British Railway Modelling magazine

They've done a good job of presenting the layout feature, with some large photos. I'm rather pleased that my photography was up to full-page prints!

It's an excellent issue for Narrow Gauge and Industrial enthusiasts, with a feature on Chris Donoghue's Compass Point in 009, an Emmet-style GN15 layout, and Six Quarters - a cracking little industrial layout in OO by Oly Turner.

Wednesday 7 November 2018

The other side...

Following EXPO-NG, there is an untold chapter in the story of Slugworth & Co. Astute readers may have wondered where the track went when it disappeared through the hole in the backscene. I didn't want to give away too much of Joshua's layout before the show, so I haven't yet shown that the layout is in fact two-sided. So, now it is time for a trip "to the other side".


Right from the start this was planned as a double-sided layout (actually Mum's idea, but Joshua loved it as it effectively doubled the scenic length); and if one side was the factory, the other side had to be the other end of the line. Which logically would be an exchange siding.


The SG track is set a little lower than the NG, with a Hornby bufferstop - removing the clips and painting has made it quite acceptable. The wagon came from the 009 sales stand, complete with 3-link couplings, perfect! The shed for storing perishable goods has been posted before, it's plasticard with clear plastic Wills sheets. We fitted a yellow LED in the roof to give a faint glow inside, hinting at the goods inside and illuminating the dirty clear roof panel.


A wider view without trains shows the coal siding, we've used a different point lever this side. The plastic handle kept breaking off so we've replaced it with wire. There's limited detailing here, for a peaceful atmosphere.


Joshua wanted a lot on his layout, the urban (factory) side with lots of detail, but also countryside. The split side approach allowed us to do that, and although this view is only a few inches wide and deep, I think we achieved his aim. The fence and gate is Dapol, and the animals are from Dart Castings (the cows are Merit and are carefully placed to be difficult to see all at once), but Joshua's trees and blending of the static grass really make this scene I think.


A view the other way with Joshua's new loco, bought from the sales stand on Saturday. We need to fit couplings.


Joshua's first loco, a Roco diesel, with his first wagons, rounds the curve at the front. Joshua weathered the loco and wagons, and fitted the appropriate loads to the wagons. After initial concerns about the poor low-speed running of the loco, I was pleasantly surprised how well the loco performed at EXPO, my attention to the pick-ups, a drop of oil, and the graphite rails have helped immensely. It ran smoothly back and forth all day at a realistic pace. The trees are quite effective at disguising the hole in the sky.


Which brings us through the tree-tunnel into the factory yard. This side is deliberately more crowded and busy, the two sides contrasting and complementing each other. Still, it's amazing that each side is just 50cm by about 18cm (the backscene is slightly angled).

Another idea planned from the start is that the layout will become a continuous run. We plan an off-stage extension allowing an semi-circle of track to link the factory front track (through the green gateway) to the corrugated shed. This will provide a fiddle yard track as well as the ability for continuous running when required. There will be updates as we work on this idea.

Thursday 1 November 2018

EXPO-NG: The layouts

In part 2 of my EXPO-NG report I'll introduce a few of the main attraction layouts. There were lots of layouts there so this is just a few that caught my eye.


Pen y Graig (5.5mm scale, 12mm gauge) by Barrie Johnston had a real wow-factor. The dramatic Welsh scenery is presented in a deep and tall layout, including a working incline.


At the top of the incline the wagons are pushed by a man - yes, the figure moved along pushing the wagon!


It was good to see Richard Holder's model of Launceston (009) after visiting the prototype this summer. This is an impressive layout that really captured the real thing.


Empire (OO6.5) by Peter Smith makes good use of this small scale/gauge in a surprisingly small space. The scenery is excellent, the small locos really well made, but most astonishing of all, Peter uses radio control. These tiny models have a receiver and batteries fitted into them...!


Coleford (009) by John Wilkes is a layout I've seen before, but each time I see something new. A characterful and delightfully detailed off-beat layout.


I did point out to Chris Ford that the lighting on Orne (009) was not especially useful - but this shot seems to benefit from the odd lighting position giving an impression of the evening train. A less-is-more layout and very effective for it.


I just liked this shot of Pyn Valley Railway (O9) by Christopher Payne, which captures the roadside tramway perfectly.


Likewise this shot of A taste of Aber (3mm scale, 6.5mm gauge) by Blair Hobson paints an attractive scene.

Sadly I gather numbers were down again this year, I do hope the organisers find a way to increase numbers and ensure the show continues, as it's a top quality show for both layouts and trade.

There's a load more photos on the Flikr album, I've noted the layout names, scales, and builder, so do enjoy.