Going Home..

This weekend sees Herstmonceux making its way to Railex which is regarded as one of the best shows in the country. As I said in my post back in April, Herstmonceux hasn’t been out since last July so much of last weekend was spent cleaning the layout and tidying up bits that needed attention. Rolling stock was checked, fixed where needed and packed away ready.
Yesterday it was the turn of the locos to get a good clean and repair any damage. I usually give them a good run and oil as most of them haven’t been used for a while. Wheels are cleaned with a cotton bud and IPA, surprisingly most of the wheels were fairly clean.
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Why “Going home”? Well I was born in Aylesbury and grew up going to Railex with Dads trade stand, back when it was in the Civic Centre. One highlight was being lucky enough as 10 yr old to operate Jas Millham’s Yaxbury for the whole weekend, must be why I have an urge to build something in S gauge! So this weekend is rather special now that i’m getting to take one of my layouts to my home town show. All thats left is to make sure I’ve got everything and pack the van tomorrow.

 

 

 

Summer is here

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One of the trains in Herstmonceux’s timetable is a Summer Special. Various inter-regional specials ran in the summer months. Some bringing holiday makers down to the Sussex coast and others taking people to different holiday destinations like Birkenhead or Blackpool. These usually had a SR Schools or Mogul replacing the loco that had brought the train in from another region although sometimes the loco from the other regions made it onto SR metals like Black 5’s, B1’s and even the odd 8F!

The idea for the one on Herstmonceux is it is on its way down to Hastings after being split at Three Bridges with the other part going to Brighton. The four coach train is made up of a couple of ex LNER Thompson’s, a Gresley and ex LMS Porthole and motive power is usually a Schools, K class or Black 5 if someone brings one along.
I had been looking to get a loco just for this train for a while but didn’t want to spend too much as it only runs a few times over a show weekend. So I recently picked up an older Bachmann B1 model for a good price. Being the older model it maybe doesn’t have as much detail as newer models but then I didn’t pay half as much as what the new ones cost and it gave me a chance to do a bit of modelling.
This was kept fairly simple, the plastic coal in the tender was cut out and a new inner made then some real coal added, new brake rigging made, loco crew added and some light weathering.
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I may add a bit more weathering but for less than £30 i’m pretty pleased.

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.

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You can never have enough…

BOOKS!!! I was lucky enough to receive two new books for my birthday. First up is “Southern Rolling Stock in Colour” which follows on from these previous books. I have only had a brief flick through so far but its packed full of great colour pictures and lots of information as you would expect.
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The other book is one that I was pointed in the direction of by a friend. If you’re interested in the Cuckoo line then you probably already have the book by A.C. Elliot and this is another must have. A few of the pictures have turned up in other books before but it also has a lot of pictures that I had never seen. One particular picture is very interesting as it is of something I am about to start work on for Herstmonceux – watch this blog!
There are a few accounts by people that used to work on the line, some of which were very amusing. For just under £15 its well worth getting.

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I have been working on a few different modelling things as well which I will blog about in the next week or so. A bit more work has been done on Tarring Neville and the Flint building is progressing nicely although modelling will now be focusing more on getting some bits ready for Herstmonceux’s next outing at Tolworth. Chris is hopefully coming over the end of the week to help work on the new timetable which will include fitting in the Birdcage set and one other new coach set.
Talking of Birdcage sets I have a extra one of these. I was originally going to try and convert into the pull push driving coach of set 661. I made a start on it a while back but decided that the work involved in converting it wouldn’t be worth it so put it back in the draw. I have now decided to get on and build it as the driving coach of set 660 and I will probably put it up for sale once finished if anyone is interested.

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It’s alive!!

So over the last few weeks I have managed to get the wire in tube laid and then got all the track fixed in position. For the few straight lengths of track and some of the point work I used PVA glue, while on the curved sections I used super glue. I’d used these methods before on Herstmonceux and it seems to of held ok. Plus more glue with be used for ballasting or where hardstanding areas will be.
Once the track was down the boring job of wiring it up had to be done… Now originally I was only going to put a couple of dead sections in but I have ended up with 7. A loco can now be left in any siding while another does some shunting. The switch panel was made up and set into the side of the layout below the switches for the points.

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With the wiring done it was time to do some testing but then I realised that I hadn’t finished the fiddle yard! I had already fitted the table for the traverser so add the three sidings and made the wiring simple. One side is always live while the other gets its power when a pin is put in place to hold the track in position.

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A few niggles with the track work were sorted out and everything is running nicely now. While testing I found that shunting the sidings needs some concentration, otherwise its easy to get in a muddle. This should get even harder once buildings are in place!

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And talking of buildings, I have made a start on the small flint building. My first test didn’t come out as planned. And since the picture below was taken I have had another go and got much better results. I will post more on how I have done this when I have a bit more to show.

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Slow progress

I have finally made a start on track laying. The cork was cut and glued down the other week, then I gave the point work a final test and soldered some wires to the crossing Vee’s ready for wiring to the switches. I’ve decided to use slide switches like I used on Herstmonceux. These will change the polarity of the crossing Vee and via wire in tube change switch blades. 2 birds with 1 stone and its nice and simple.
The next 2 pictures show the track loosely laid out before I started cutting the cork ready for the wire in tube.

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Hopefully in the next week or so I will get the wire in tube laid and get the point work fixed in place. After this I’ll work out where to put a few sections so the odd loco can be left in a siding while another does some shunting. Its probably a bit OTT for a small yard that would maybe only have one loco working at any one time but it will add a little more variety.
I have also started working out what some of the buildings will look like and have been doing a bit of local research. One thing I wanted to do was hide the corner of the fiddle yard backscene. For this I have started making a stores building loosely based on the one that was in the yard at Hellingly Station.

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The building has a foamboard core which will be clad with South Eastern Finecast corrugated sheet. Hopefully this will look right once finished and help hide the corner. If not I have a couple of other ideas to try out. Another building that I hope to make a start on soon is this.

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It was spotted whilst out on a walk and should make for an interesting little stores building. I will probably add the tank on the end too. Trying to replicate the flintwork in 4mm should be interesting! And talking of flintwork, I am hoping to use is this building somewhere. I will change the lower front a little and reinstate its window and garage door. Hopefully I can make it look like a small workshop of some sort.

 

Bringing Up the Rear

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This post has come about for 2 reasons. The main reason is the brake van pictured above and the other I’ll get to later.
Now the brake van pictured above is a SECR 20t 6 wheeled goods brake van diagram 1558. 40 were built in 1898 that had one open and one enclosed balcony. These were later rebuilt and had different framing on each end compared to the 50 later 1910 design that had two enclosed ends from new. Most passed into BR ownership but were withdrawn between 1949 and 1960. One has survived and is based at the KESR.
The model I have was picked up cheap at the Manchester show in December and I originally thought it was a Falcon Brassworks kit going by the weight of it. It wasn’t until I got it home and was trying to take the EM gauge wheels out to replace that I found out otherwise! As the second set of wheels came out the body came off in my hand. To my surprise the body was made of plasticard with the underframe made of brass with each axle sprung and sprung buffers. Who ever scratchbuilt it did a cracking job and going by the box it came in its pretty old. All I have done to it is put it back together with a set of OO wheels and repainted the ends. It runs real well and that’s probably down to the amount of weight in it and sprung axles.

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The other reason for this entry was a post I picked up on during the usual frothfest before the Bachmann announcement at the begin of the month. The poster was hoping for a SECR Dance hall brake van to be produced RTR. What is this new trend of people waiting around for RTR stuff??
And if people really really wanted one of these brake vans then there are already options. For starters you have the Cambrian plastic kit which isn’t hard to build. If you really want to push the boat out you can go for the London Road Models brass kit. I have built 3 Dance hall brake vans, 2 are Cambrian kits built as different examples and the other is old 51L brass kit (the one on the left below). IMG_4102
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I haven’t got anything against people wanting stuff produced RTR, most of my other brake vans are modified RTR but without the kit built vans there would be less variety on my layout and I would of built more kits if the RTR models weren’t available. Some of the other brake vans I have include 3 SR25t Pill-box vans. 1 is a Cambrian kit and the other 2 are Bachmann.IMG_4108IMG_4109

There is also a detailed Hornby LBSCR 20t brake van which I am hoping to do another of soon.IMG_4111

I have a Queen Mary brake van as well but don’t tend to use it much at shows and I must get round to building a Marc models SECR 20t Ballast plough brake van to the engineers rake. There are also a couple of BR and a LMS brake van just to mix it up a little.
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So back to the guy wanting a RTR Dance Hall brake van. The usual retort on forums from those wanting everything RTR when asked why they don’t try a kit is they can’t, don’t have the skills, don’t have the time etc. Well I would argue that the 10-15 minutes spent frothing and wishing on forums could be spent trying to build a kit and gaining the skills needed. That brings the argument down to can’t and as my Nan always said “there is no such word as can’t”. I usually stop reading after that because its all been said before. The name calling starts with words like elitist, rivet counter and finescale being thrown around. Once the word finescale is said the media experts start mocking from afar although they are only too happy for everyone to buy what ever magazine they might be in this month when it suits. Its all rather tiresome and usual ends up with someone saying they were “only  joking” to try and save face. IMG_4040

Anyway I think I’ll stick to building kits instead of waiting around. Its usually quicker and adds more variety. Variety is important to me and with Herstmonceux I’ve tried to model a area and era with the stock to match and part of it is to be different to make it interesting, not only for me but for people that see the layout at shows. I could fill the layout with all the latest RTR items, but the layout wouldn’t be the same and in my opinion it would lose its character and essence.