Back to building buildings

Well Herstmonceux is now packed away in the shed again after its trip to Devon. Before the show I managed to get both the LBSCR Pull Push set and Birdcage set finished enough to use in the new timetable.  Barring a couple of odd coaches still in the “to do” pile I’m rather pleased to have all the coach sets done for the layout.
We had a good time at the show and even picked up the “Pete Lindsay Shield” for best layout voted for by the other exhibitors. The new timetable ran ok but needs a few tweaks in places before the layouts next outing in 2018




Although there was a small disaster just before the show when one of my operators favourite biscuits was out of stock in Aldi. Keeping operators happy is a hard task at the best of times so a plan was hatched to put things right…

So with Exeter out the way my focus is back on Tarring Neville and getting it finished for October. The last building I was working on is nearly finished. I just need to add a couple more small details and then it can be bedded into the layout. (and yes that is a Wampa and Stormtrooper in the background) 20170606_125308


The last building I need to make is based on a real building at Tarring Neville. I am only going to make the long large barn and will make a few slight changes to it so it fits the space I have.20170610_151243

And this is where i have got with it so far…



Cream Tea anyone?

In just under 2 weeks Herstmonceux will be heading down to Devon for the Exe Model Railway Society show. Although I have been focused on getting Tarring Neville finished I have also been working on a few new things for Herstmonceux which will hopefully ready for the show.IMG_4064

For a while now my Birdcage set has been 2/3s finished and when run at a couple of shows its pinched the composite coach from the SECR Pull-Push set. I finally got the sets composite built and its currently waiting on some transfers and then the whole set needs weathering.
Something else that has been on the “to do” list is another Pull-Push set. Last year I received a new Cuckoo line book and I mentioned that one picture was very interesting. This picture showed a ex-LBSCR Pull-Push set and a D3 tank at Hailsham. The D3 turned out to be the one that I have modelled..

Being at Hailsham it puts it very close to Herstmonceux and the possibility that it might of turned up on the Ouse valley line… So luckily for me that nice guy Mr Roxey produces a kit of the LBSCR Pull-Push set. This is also just waiting on some transfers and some weathering and I will stick some pictures up when it’s finished.
With these two new sets a new timetable was needed to fit them in so hopefully I’ll get this finished ready for Exeter. Chris has also worked on a rake on mineral wagons to run in the new timetable as a diverted Kent coal train and I have tried to fit in a few more unusual workings that would of been seen in the area.

Out half dressed


Tarring Neville is back home after a very enjoyable weekend at the Uckfield show. Thank you to Adrian and the team at Uckfield MRC for putting on a excellent show and looking after me all weekend and thanks to all the people that read the blog and came to say hello. There were some lovely layouts like “High Stamley” and “Sub Wealden Gypsum Co.” but the simplicity of Maurice Hoppers superb S gauge “Tresparrett Wharf” really did it for me.
People were interested in Tarring Neville’s slightly quirky design, the lighting rig and the height it is set at. They were also intrigued that you will be able to view the layout all the way round.img-20161017-wa0001

Being there gave me a chance to test out how it will be to operate at shows and if there are any bits that need changing. Happily there is plenty of interest shunting the layout but final placement of buildings and other objects will have to be thought about carefully so that coupling and uncoupling is still able to be done. Like I discussed with a few people, it might make operating easier if I changed the 3 links for an automatic coupler but they never look as good and it would also mean changing all the stock for Herstmonceux too which is something I don’t want to do.


You might notice in the pictures (thanks Chris), apart from a few more building shells that another Terrier has appeared. This one was the Brighton works pet but it did get down to Newhaven from time to time so that’s the excuse for it turning up at Tarring Neville. I have managed to get a little work done to it already by cutting the sandboxes off the footplate, adding lamp irons and some extra pipework. It still needs a crew and I need to change the number to 337S or DS 337 for the era I model but finding transfers is a problem at the minute.


A finished Tarring Neville will be back out at the Uckfield show next year. Herstmonceux is off to Tolworth in a couple of weeks.

Uckfield 2016

Just a quick one to say that Uckfield MRC’s exhibition is only a few weeks away. Its one of the best shows in the South East and always has a good mix of layouts and traders.
More information can be found on the clubs website.
I normally try and make it along and was lucky enough to take Herstmonceux a couple of years ago.


Merry Manchester

So the MMRS Christmas show has come and gone and Herstmonceux is back home in Sussex packed away till March. First of all I would like to thank the MMRS for looking after us all weekend from the warm welcome on the Friday afternoon till thanking us for coming when we left on the Sunday evening. They had a army of members willing to help everyone unload on the Friday and then helping people load again on the Sunday evening.
For us the weekend started on the Thursday with the packing of the van ready for an early start on Friday. Everything was double and triple checked,  if I forgot something it was a rather a long way to come back to get!
Friday morning Anastasia and I left Sussex to go pick up Chris and after a good trip we arrived in Manchester just after 1.30pm. With the help from the MMRS members we must of had the van unloaded in under 10 minutes! This left us to leisurely set up and my Dad turned up just as we’d finished!


Now I’ve not been to many shows where the view behind the layout is like this…..


Saturday morning the show opened and was very busy early on. We found out later that they’d had 700 people through the door in the first hour which was pretty good going. Everything seemed to be going smoothly up until lunch time when we had our first ever fault with the layout. I’m still not really sure what was wrong. One of the controllers failed and was quickly replaced but it had caused a short in the goods yard which I couldn’t seem to trace. At this point I was fearing that we would only be able to run stuff through the station but after about 15 minutes it decided to start working again. Strange, very strange! Lack of tea?

On the Saturday evening after the show the MMRS had a social gathering where all exhibitors and traders could have a good chin wag, drink tea, eat cake and sandwiches plus the Exhibition co-ordinator and Chairman both spoke thanking everyone for coming and how the first day had been a great success. Better than the tea and sandwiches was Herstmonceux being awarded “Best in show” as chosen by the MMRS members! This is a great honour for me and I feel rather privileged to have my layouts name along side the others on the cup that go all the way back to 1949.


After the MMRS social we had been invited to another across town in the splendid Marble Arch pub. If you’re ever in the city its well worth a visit as a part from a good pint the pub itself is full of character. Afterwards our trip back to the hotel involved a ride out of Piccadilly. As Chris has already mentioned on his blog I got rather excited about a ride on a old Class 142 Pacer which I also got some stick for admitting it at the show the next day.



Before the show opened on Sunday I managed to get a few pictures of the SR Moguls that we had running over the weekend. This includes one of my K classes, an N class, the new N1 and my Dads U and U1 classes. I’ll post more about these at a later date.

Sunday the show was still pretty busy but I had more of a chance to go and have a look around. The stand out layout for me was Tollesbury Quay. Martin Stringer’s 7mm layout is based on the Kelvedon and Tollesbury Light Railway and really is a lovely piece of modelling. This layout has given me some ideas for a small layout before I build Herstmonceux’s replacement. Another layout I enjoyed was Calderwood based on the L&Y with some nicely built 4mm stock.
At the end of the show the help from the MMRS members getting the layout back to the van was really appreciated after a long weekend and the drive back to Sussex on the Monday wasn’t too bad either. I really enjoyed my first trip north with the layout and even picked up a few more invites. Of course none of this would happen without the help of Anastasia, Chris and my Dad and I would also like to thank Tom for his guest help. Hopefully he enjoyed it as much as we did. Thanks again to MMRS for a brilliant weekend and I look forward to coming to the show again in the future.



Don’t let it snow…

In 5 days time Herstmonceux will be on it way up to Manchester for The Christmas Model Railway Show . This will be the furthest I’ve taken the layout so far and I must say I’m really looking forward to it.
Andy Coopers New Hey will be at its last show before moving on to a new owner. It’ll be good to see his layout again, the first time was at Manchester show some 6 years ago!

At this show Herstmonceux will have a new operator as my friend Tom Foster is coming to help myself and some of the usual crew for the weekend. Hopefully he’ll get a good taster of whats to come when he finishes his Cwm Prysor layout.
The loco roster has had some new locos added to it. I finally got round to respraying my Hornby Schools into BR black and renamed and numbered it 30930 Radley. I picked this one as I have pictures of it around the area and it has some rather usual lining compared to others.
I have detailed a Hornby E2 with extra pipe work, lamp irons etc and also tried to convert a Hornby Terrier into something more like a A1x. This had the front footplate sandboxes cut off and new splashers added. The last loco I have been working on is a N1 and this has involved converting a Bachmann N. The cab and front end were replaced with extra parts out of a DJH kit. The cylinders took a bit of work and its not 100% but looks the part. Please excuse the poor picture. Hopefully you can make out the extras that have been added. I will try and get some better pictures put up after the weekend.

I’ve also managed to finish off a few coach projects. The restriction set now has 2 brake coaches. The set is made up from cutting the sides off Hornby Maunsells and filing the ends down slightly to narrow them ready for gluing on the Branchline conversion sides.

I’ve also been working on a Maunsell Nondescript Brake Saloon. This is again a Hornby coach with sides cut off but with Bill Bedford sides attached and I will post some pictures when its finished.

So bar a few more bits of packing to do and a good clean of the layout, Herstmonceux is ready for its trip. I’m sure it’ll be a cracking weekend and please do come say hello if you are at the show.

Show Time

With just under a week to go till Herstmonceuxs next outing at Worthing show I’m doing the final checks and getting a few new things ready. Since the last show back in January I’ve been busy adding to the stock, made a few changes to the operating sequence and made a new stock box for the coaches.

The other main thing I’ve done is change the operation of the signals from servo controlled back to my simple push rods. The main reason for this is that I was having some big problems with the servos twitching. This was happening when a kit built loco was running and was down to interference. I tried all manner of things to try and sort it but in the end I felt it was best to go back to something much simpler and also easier to fix if needs be.