Nicks workshop mutterings

Various railway orientated modelling projects in my new workshop/railway room.

Canal locks update

I have now finished the detailing of the two locks including the gates in various stages of delay.

Here are some pictures of the end result.

Firstly the upper lock with the tail bridge and cut out to accept the lock keepers cottage;

Secondly the lower lock with more derelict gates;

Now to find the time to deliver them to the museum!

Canal locks progress

I have now finished the main carcass for the upper of the two locks. This one includes a limestone tail bridge used for getting horses from one side of the canal to the other together with a cut out to take the lock keepers  cottage when it is  installed in it’s scenic tray. The bleached carpet felt grass has been applied and now awaits painting and then the fun bit of adding all the weeds, brambles, ivy etc can begin. 

The canal was abandoned in 1914 but most of the pictures we have of their derelict state were taken in the 1990s. At that time there was still some evidence of the lock gates. As they would only have been derelict for some 15 to 20 years at the period we are modelling one can surmise that there would be a bit more of the gates and other bits still in situ. The lower lock will have very derelict lower gates and the remnants of the upper gate while the upper lock being near the lock keepers cottage will have more intact gates. 


Poppy’s loco building box

Following a discussion at the St Albans show I commissioned a 3mm scale version of their new loco building jig. It is made from laser cut plywood and comes complete with 1/8″ axles turned down at the ends to take coupling rods.

I am now trying it out to build a chassis for a 0-4-2 GWR 517 class tank. This is the 3 mm society kit reduced down from Malcolm Mitchell’s 4/7 mm kit.

The instructions suggest using the supplied silicon tube to hold the chassis central in the box but I was worried about keeping it square. The first axle is inserted in a central hole and the second is fitted through a slot and the wheelbase is held by using the coupling rods. I have threaded top hat bearings with the flange towards the centre of the box onto the rod first. When the side frames complete with bearings are threaded on they can be pushed tight up to the other bearings and this keeps it all square. 

I am building the chassis to 14.2 mm gauge but not compensated as there isn’t enough room to get rhe beam around the gearbox. If building a chassis with hornblocks this will be ideal to get them in the correct position before soldering up. 

The chassis spacers can be tack soldered to one of the side frames and then the whole lot is set up in the jig  before finally soldering up the spacers.

Overall I think that ,compared with other more complicated and expensive jigs ,at £25 this is good value. My only worry is that the central, fixed axle hole will wear in time. I may fit brass bearings to this hole to stop the wood wearing. 

Canal locks for Pendon

One of the last projects commissioned by the late Roger Haywood, Pendon modelling coordinator, was for the Wilts and Berks disused canal locks for the Vale scene and I was asked to make them. 

The canal became abandoned in 1914 and by the time of the Pendon scene they had fallen into a state of decay.

Two locks are required, one of which has a bridge over the lower end which carries a track from the nearby farm to the lock keepers cottage. Because of the distance the canal has to fall in the scene it has become necessary for each lock to have a 11 feet drop.

I have started work on the lower lock. The brickwork is being done with Howard’s Scenics embossed brick card as most of the brickwork will be covered in ivy and brambles. I have glued the embossed sheet to a card base and after painting it with a mortar wash I painted the bricks by the method described in the instructions. A mixture of water colour to the correct brick colour is applied by stamping with the cut surface of an eraser coated in the paint. When dry weathering powders were applied.

Because the lock is so deep I decided to make up one side and the base first. I then glued and painted plumbers hemp bundles to the base before assembling the second side and the associated  egg boxing for the scene. 

Once the scrim and plaster has been added work can start on preparing the surface of the lock and adding all the weeds etc. This lock will have the remains of the lower gates and part of the upper gate. 

Eggesford progress

It has been quite  a while since I reported on the progress with Eggesford. The trackwork is all finished and trains are running well over the complete circuit. The locking frame has been installed and the points all operate from Hoffman. Point motors. The signals have yet to be connected to the frame.

The next stage is to install point ridding and start on the job of ballasting. In the past I have done this by brushing in he ballast then fixing with dilute PVA, always a horrible messy job! Talking to a member of the scalefour society at a recent meeting of the Devon Finescale Group it was suggested I try furniture polish. There is a good thread on the scalefour website forum about using Johnsons Klear liquid floor polish. I had difficulty finding that particular make but got an equivalent at B&Q. When the polish is dropped neat along the edge of the ballast it seems to be quickly sucked into the ballast without disturbing it at all and best of all it drys quickly. I decided to do a comparison test with two lengths of track.

The first picture shows the test after five minutes;

The next one is after two hours. The polish has dried but the PVA is still wet and mucky.

Finally by the next morning both are dry but the PVA one shows very shiny sleepers where the glue has dried and the ballast has been very disturbed. The one fixed with polish is more even and neater and would not require too much in the way of weathering.

The winner is the floor polish method. Now to do the whole layout!

50 Shades of Grey 

Great load of photos thanks

sed30's Blog

I had the privilege of operating Nick Salzmans 50 Shades of Grey at St.Albans exhibition yesterday.

Built to celebrate the 3mm Societies 50th year in 2015, Nick has now winterised the layout which given the weather yesterday was rather topical. I joked that he had left the roof off overnight!

It was amazing to watch people’s reaction and colour photos do not really do it justice so I suggested they take them in Black and White or even Sepia which some folk did.

I took a number of photographs from various angles some of which follow.

A true masterpiece.

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Shades of Grey- Winter arrives!

At the Thorncombe show in November I was inspired by a layout called ‘Hounslow Sidings’ which I see is featured in the January edition of the Railway Modeller. This layout is modelled with snow, and talking to the owner, Ray Norwood, he gave me details of a company called Precision Ice and Snow. They produce a snow effect scatter and a liquid that can be applied to represent ice and frost. It seems this is mainly used by military Modellers

Having sent away for some of the product and testing it out on some old models I was very impressed and decided to take the plunge and turn shades of grey into a wintry scene. The whole ship was removed to be done separately and after masking out the water and back scene I sprayed the whole lot from above with hairspray and then sieved the scatter on. I have applied it quite sparingly to give the effect of a light snow shower over a frosty ground. The ship was treated similarly and then replaced in the scene.

By applying it sparingly it is possible to build up a thicker layer by respraying and adding more scatter. Once dry the snow adheres quite well but I need to avoid tipping the layout too much as some loose stuff can collect in ‘drifts’. Car tracks were added by running a vehicle up and down by hand as well as foot tracks by scraping with an orange stick.

Overall with the atmosphere created by LED lighting and the dull grey finish, the application of the snow really adds to the feeling of a horrible, dull winter’s day.

See what you think!

Eggesford – update

Having relaid all the track and getting the points working from the original wire in tube I am now looking to the operating side of the layout. My plans were always to have a fully interlocked signal frame and to ‘drive’ the trains to the signals. As Eggesford is a passing station I have decided to have one controller for the UP line and one for the DOWN line with the yard be workable from either. Electrically there will be a switchable section in front of each starter signal which will be switched between the two controllers to represent the change over between he two token controlled single lines. Other electrical feeds will be determined by the position of the points.

I have now built the interlocking frame. The locking rules have been worked out using  the ‘TRAX 3’ computer program that comes with Jeff Geary’s book ‘Signalling & Lever Frames’ published by Noodle Books. This also includes another program to determine the locking bars that are needed. Before forging ahead with the construction of the frame I built a mockup in plasticard to check whether the locks would all work

Having determined it would work  I then moved on to constructing the frame. The locking bars are made from 1/4″ x 1/8″ brass and the tappets from 1/4″ x 1/16″ brass. These are connected to the lever  frame (a GEM 12 lever) with 0.7mm brass wire. The pins on the locking bar are 8 BA screws. The tappets were connected to the frame before the notches and pins were put in, one bar at a time.

The four levers to the right control hand points in the yard and are not interlocked. On the other side of the frame the levers are connected to subminiature switches which will control the Hoffmann point motors and the servos for the signals.

The next step will be to fit the point motors and start to wire the whole thing up.

Eggesford – going full circle

It has taken a while but I have now sorted the fiddle yard traverser so I can have continuous running. It has been complicated by the need for the traverser to also be a lift up section for access. The original traverser had five running lines and also included a turntable and loco storage area. I have simplified it to two though lines and a line from each side connecting to a cassette which can be removed for storage. When the traverser needs to be raised then it is only a matter of running at the most two trains off to the rest of the layout.

The original didn’t slide very smoothly as it was running on old plastic curtain track. This has been replaced with proper draw runners and is much smoother. I have retained the original indexing system which used a brass bar with notches in it for the various positions and a sprung pulley wheel which ran along it. This can be seen in the next picture.

Power is fed from either the up or down line through a two way centre off switch and to the respective line via a sliding contact switch underneath. This can be seen in the picture below which also shows the whole traverser raised to allow access. When the traverser is lowered alignment is maintained with the use of a split hinge and pin. Note the work desk is in it’s usual state of clutter!!

50 x 50 Shades of Grey – first outing

Today was the first proper show for Shades of Grey at the 3mm society ‘Westfest’ held at Ilton. I was pleased with the reception it had and the way it ran.

I have instigated a form of the “Inglenook shunting challenge ” to make operating more interesting. Each wagon has a card showing a picture of the wagon and a choice of two destinations to be shunted to. The cards are shuffled and then the throw of a dice decides the number of the card to be drawn from the pack. 4 or 5 wagons are picked and then the train is made up in the order that the cards are picked. Next the dice is thrown for each wagon in turn to decide which of the two  destinations the wagon is to be shunted to(1-3 for the first and 4-6 for the second) and the wagons are then shunted. Because of the capacity of the sidings and the fact that one needs the loco to run round meant that some of the shunting was quite challenging! I also found that one of the uncoupling magnets was wrongly sited which meant it left the wagon fouling the points needed to run round. It will need to be moved! It isn’t until one uses the layout in earnest that one discovers the design faults.




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sed30's Blog

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