Nicks workshop mutterings

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

New Project

New Year is coming and it’s time to start a new project.

I am going to build a new, permanent home layout based on Tavistock South which was the Great Western station at Tavistock, in West Devon. I was inspired by an article in the Great Western Echo- magazine of the Great Western Society. The article included an aerial photograph of the station which shows how tight it fitted into the landscape and makes an ideal prototype for a model.

It will be interesting to make the station building with its overall roof and there are quite a few small, interesting building as well.

I have drawn the plan out using Templot and found I could fit it into the 11 feet that I have space for. It did mean some adaption of the original layout. I have excluded the turntable and locomotive works and also shortened some of the sidings. As it is not exact I have decided to call the layout ‘Tavistowe’, courtesy of an idea given to me by Iain Rice!

I have decided to buy some accurate laser cut baseboards and have plumped for those produced by Tim Horn.

The main period I am going to depict is 1948-1950, ie just after nationalisation. 1948 being my year of birth! This allows a lot of pre nationalisation stock as well as some in the early BR liveries.

25 Years a flat pack!

In the late 1980s i bought a cast white metal kit for a GWR 45xx Prairie. This was produced by Alan Searle in conjunction with the 3mm Society. The original kit included a cast chassis which I never got to work. In 1994 the Society introduced an etched nickel silver kit for the 45xx chassis. This was a reduced version of the Churchward kit for the 4mm scale chassis which in turn , I think, was reduced from the 7mm kit. The etchings arrived with 15 pages of instructions and promptly entered the ‘flat pack draw’!

Over the last 25 years they have been in and out of the draw but I had never been brave enough to tackle it. I really wanted a 45xx Prairie for a new layout I am planning at home. Recently I was given a Portescap motor and gearbox and also acquired a set of instructions annotated with all the correct sizes of holes, wire etc for building the 3mm version. This was done by the late Ralph Stueart, a member of the SW group of the 3mm Society, when he was building his model. Armed with this lot I have at last freed the kit from the dreaded draw and built it. With Ralphs instructions I have now found that it wasn’t as hard as I imagined.

One of the biggest problems in doing a 14.2mm gauge loco is the ‘fag paper’ clearance between the back of the cross head and the coupling rods. Taking Iain Rice’s advice I moved the piston tube and slide bars 0.5mm out. In the cylinder etching and used a countersunk crank pin on the leading wheels.

Much to my delight the chassis works!!

Those who know what work I have done in the past might wonder why it is finished in early BR black. Well I am planning a home layout based on Tavistock South in Devon and want to base it around 1948 which is my year of birth.

More about this in the future…………..

Wheelwright update

Last time I was left pondering how to light the interior of the building and it was suggested that I could try a light tube up the chimney. That is what I have done. I inserted a plastic tube up into the chimney-actually the sleeve from a hyperdermic needle-behind the forge and then inserted a smaller tube at right angles to the chimney to lie along the beam in the roof. I then managed to thread a yellow micro LED up into the tube and hey presto I had light!

With the lighting sorted I attached the roof and stuck on strips of tiles. These were made by printing a 2mm x 2mm grid onto cartridge paper, then cutting strips 5mm wide with the tiles cut with scissors 2mm into the strip. When dry the whole lot was given a wash of tile colour followed by randomly painting each tile with varying mixes of light red, burnt umber, scarlet and neutral tint watercolour.

Finally the roof and brickwork was weathered by dry brushing a mixture of chromium oxide, raw sienna and raw umber. The main doors made from thin card were added as well as a cellar base and it is now virtually finished.

The only thing left to do is some ivy growing up the end wall between it and the lean to. This will be done with dark green coarse scatter material.

Eggesford requiem

Well I have struggled to get the relain trackwork to run smoothly and the scenery really has had it after 30+ years. The track work is a problem with going from 12mm to 14.2 but still using the original radii so parts end up rather tight.

So, in the end I have lifted as much track as I can, saved the buildings and other fixtures and the rest now resides in the local recycling centre!

I can now get in my model room with ease without having to duck under the layout which was becoming very irksome especially with a bad back! I am now designing a new permanent layout based on Brampton on the Exe Valley line in Devon This will go down one side of the room leaving the other side for Lananta Quay and 50×50 Shades of Grey.

More to come as I progress……..

cameo final

Well, I had a great time over the weekend. The variety of entries was really good and it was lovely just to be there as a finalist. The first and second places were well earned and the rest of us[four layouts] all received very generous vouchers.

First place went to Newton Heath;

And second was Bristol Midland;

The others were;

Callaton Cameo

Bottom Works sidings


And of course Lananta Quay

Cameo Final at Railex

Well the layout is packed and well tested and all the locos are cleaned. Test run went well which may be a bad sign!

I’m looking forward to seeing all the other finalists and meeting all the conspirators. Should be a great show…………

Wheelwrights for Pendon….

For a change I have started building a new model for Pendon Museum. This is the Wheelwrights. The building itself is fairly basic but has a feature of a large window made with overlapping glass panes. The main feature of the building is a detailed interior which hopefully will be lit in the night scene.

When in the scene eventually it will be located quite close to the viewing glass.

I have completed the shell of the building and have been working on the interior. Details for this have been obtained from photographs found on the internet as well as a visit to Tiverton museum in Devon where they have a mock up of a wheelwright.

The brickwork is embossed Flemish garden wall bond and still needs tidying up and weathering.

The lapped glass main window is made with strips of Perspex stuck with Humbrol Clearfix and mounted behind a frame of thin card with the whole lot mounted in the opening cut out for the window.

The interior was initially lined with Howards Scenics embossed card and painted to represent dirty whitewash. The various benches, wheel horse and saw horse are made from a mixture of 1/32″ plywood, balsa wood and obechi strip. A raid of my stock boxes produced bits of carts, wheels, saws and buckets.

The next stage is to work out how to install a light tube from the base up into the roof without impeding the view of the interior!!!

LanantaQuay – wildlife

Spring is sprung

The grass is riz

I wonder where the birdies is ? ………………..

A cormorant perches on the rotten hulk drying its wings while Herring Gulls fly over the trees, some ducks come down the creek and two very large rabbits graze on the shore line watched over by a couple out for a walk!

Final resting place!

Yeoton Wharf

Yeoton Wharf has now been installed as a permanent but non operating exhibit in the museum of the South Devon Railway at Buckfastleigh. The museum curator was looking for something to demonstrate the difference between the old 7 ft Broad Gauge and the standard gauge to complement having the Broad Gauge locomotive ‘Tiny’ in the museum. If you are in the area go have a look.

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Hawthorn class Broad Gauge locomotive

I have now virtually finished ‘Hackworth’ a member of the 2-4-0 Hawthorn class of Great Western Broad Gauge locomotives. It’s mainly scratch built using etches produced for me for the footplate, splashes and valance.

The loco is finished in its final state with double buffers to facilitate working mixed gauge trains. Because of the fine tolerance between wheel and valance I elected to use a slightly smaller driving wheel to prevent shorts. The cab and boiler blackhead remain to be done as well as a suitable crew.

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