Saturday, 20 April 2019

Another 12t pipe wagon

Over the last few weeks I have quietly managed a few hours of modelling here and there.  In that time I managed to put the finishing touches to a 12t pipe wagon.  This is another Parkside model that I built several years ago.  It has languished around before painting over the last few months.  As per normal it has white metal buffers fitted from the Lanarkshire range, 3 link couplings, and is finished with a mix of Modelmaster and CCT transfers.  The application of transfers was not quite right, but this is only visible on a super close up shot, so I am going to live with it for the time being.  I had originally intended this wagon to fit into the engineers stock, however, somehow it has managed to come out in a faded bauxite livery, so it is going to stay in revenue earning service for the time being.

Finished pipe wagon.

The underframe colouring is visible in this shot.

A few other projects are also coming to fruition now, notably a MK1 GUV newspaper coach with lights, a few wagons and Maroon Warship.  I also still have to finish off the station properly on Charlton layout ready for its first exhibition.  However, I have a little bit more free time at the moment - so plenty of time for modelling! 

Sunday, 7 April 2019

Class 22 with Howes DCC sound

A few of my recent posts have shown a class 22 pottering around the Charlton layout, so I thought that it was high time I wrote a post about the finished locomotive.  The class 22 is a Dapol locomotive, one of the first batches of this model. There are a lot of good points about this locomotive and also some not so good ones too!

The Class 22 during running in, showing the factory finish!

As with all my locomotive detailing projects I took the locomotive apart and weathered the bogies separately to the body and chassis.  With this Dapol offering, there are separate side valances to stick onto the locomotive, which seem resistant to most types of glue!  To be frank this is a poor design by Dapol and some blobs of super glue are required to get these valances to stay in place.  However, with a bit of faffing around I managed to glue these to the chassis ready for painting.  This does make painting a bit awkward though, as the body really needs to sit on the chassis to be able to paint the valances too, which does require a little bit more masking than normal!

During painting with the body resting on the chassis, to enable the side valances to be weathered at the same time.

Anyhow, the first coat I give a locomotive is a wash of heavily thinned weathered black/frame dirt.  Like with the Class 122 detailed in an earlier post, this attacked the paint finish, so be warned!  However, this locomotive was always due to look pretty desperate, so this was duly disguised with more painting.  Using some pictures of Class 22 around North Devon as a guide, shades of white, and various shades of weathered blue, were then airbrushed over the body before weathering of all the various components, such as bogies, chassis, etc.  Like with all my projects, weathering was achieved using an airbrush and shades of weathered black, frame dirt, sleeper grime, brake dust and matt white.

The headcode fitted to plast glazing before adding to the body shell.  These were simply cut to size with scissors.

The headcodes were added to clear plastic before cutting to shape and inserting.  A Loksound 21 pin DCC sound decoder was added, with the sound files by Howes.  The decoder was soldered up to a Road and Rails double Ipone speaker and the locomotive reassembled with baited breath.  On testing I was absolutely delighted with the sound quality.  The pick up of the locomotive when moving from a standing start is just like I would imagine.  I can only regret being born too recently to have heard these locomotives chugging through the North Devon countryside.

The finished class 22 ready to run a parcels service out of Charlton.

Here is the finished locomotive running out of Charlton back to Barnstaple.

When I started programming the locomotive I went through some of the decoder functions and one of the cab lights refused to work.  A quick google and I found this was a common problem with the early batches of Dapol class 22 locomotives. In typical Murphy's law, the end which has the working cab light, is the end without the driver! So half marks for Dapol here - a poor quality paint finish, one cab light doesn't work and the valances are a nightmare!  However, with a bit of work, I am delighted with how this locomotive looks and sounds.  It is definitely a favorite of the growing Charlton fleet of DCC sound diesels.

The class 22 emerging from the tunnel at Charlton, into bright sunlight.

The pick up from the idle to running is fantastic on this sound project I think.

And running the evening passenger service into the station on a summers day in 1970!

So with a class 42 sound chip just in, a class 37 sound chip about to be reblown, and a class 47 sound chip about to be ordered, there is plenty of modelling to be done on the workbench.

Monday, 1 April 2019

Hornby Class 31 - Howes DCC sound now fitted

Not much has happened on the modelling front in the last couple of weeks, with a work trip to North Africa slowing down modelling progress.  However, previously I did manage to upgrade the DCC sound on my Hornby class 31.  I experimented with the new Hornby TTS sound system as a cheap DCC sound chip.  Whilst I thought the sound reproduction was quite good, the control over the train whilst driving was poor and I upgraded the locomotive to a Howes DCC sound system with a Road and Rails double Iphone speaker.  This is now my standard way of detailing locomotives to run on the Charlton layout.

The finished locomotive.

The original post on finishing the locomotive is here

So here are a couple of videos with the new Howes DCC sound chip fitted.  It now sounds fantastic and importantly it now runs a like a dream.  As I have said before the addition of sounds to a locomotive really adds a whole new level to the running of trains. I have certainly come to the view that a few sound equipped locomotives is better for layout running than a lot of non-sound fitted locomotives.  Whilst of course this is only my opinion, running a small layout like mine only needs 4 sound chipped locomotives and this cost is broadly equivalent to eight non-sound models.   However, it is much more fun to drive locomotives with sound!

The start up of the Class 31.

Class 31 running around its short train, with plenty of flange squeal!

Class 31 buffering up to its train after running around.

Running light out of the station at the end of the day - the driver is opening her up a little!

Sunday, 10 March 2019

Chalton Progress - up and running

This week saw some substantial progress on the layout detailing front.  I lugged the layout around last week and kept knocking the very tall backscene, and working it loose.  So the first job after setting the layout up was to cut down the height of the backscene and reglue it securely with superglue.  This was actually really easy to do with a scalpel and was a quick job.  Yes the backscene is now a bit lower, but it doesn't half make it easier to carry the boards about.

The original backscene.

The overhang from the back.

During cutting down, with the height difference evident.

And the new height of the back scene.

The second job was to fit some static grass to the rest of the platform edge. I had completed half of the job here, with the second half not taking long.  I put down some blobs of PVA glue and then using tweezers put small clumps of static grass on these.  I then collect up the loose static grass, give it hoover and a blast of hairspray once the glue is dry.  I think it is very effective.

A somewhat bald looking platform edge.

Blobs of PVA glue with lumps of static grass added.

The platform edge with the weeds added.

I also managed to finish off the area by the tunnel, adding in more hedging and bushes to break it up a little.  I am pleased with how this area turned out, but I must paint the edge of the cobbles on the baseboard join.  Other than that, this area and board are all ready to go!

The tunnel end, although the baseboard join now needs painting - with the terracotta DAS clay showing.

The view back towards the tunnel.

And the other way to the station.

So with that all done, the layout had a few items of rolling stock added and I had a good old fashioned session of playing trains - it was great!  To my relief the electrics all worked first time too.

Class 22 on the morning parcels train.

Running out the station.

Class 22 on the evening passenger turn.

Class 31 brings in a short freight.

So items to finish are the trees behind the station, gluing in the station signs and adding the lights to the station.  I think that is probably a weekends worth of modelling and then it is all complete.  Close, but not quite there.  I must resist the temptation to start another layout before adding these final touches in!!

Class 22 running the evening passenger service from Exeter into Charlton.

Wednesday, 6 March 2019

July 1973 - the end of the line?

It is July 1973 and there has been a proposal to cut all services to on the Charlton branch, one of the last twigs on the Withered Arm, despite the station being revamped with new BR signage only 2 years earlier.  A class 22 enters the slightly overgrown station with an engineers train, with locals worried that this might be part of the salvaging before closure. 

Class 22 with a short engineers train - the beginning of the end??...

Sunday, 24 February 2019

Charlton layout detailing progress (and a class 22 appears)

This weekend I managed to find a little time to set about completing some of the unfinished detailing on the scenic boards of Charlton.  The layout is fully operational, however there are a few areas of the boards that require some further detailing work.  The area that has witnessed a burst of activity today is the scenic board with the exit to the fiddle yard.  The area around the tunnel needed tidying up, as did the join between the backscene and the top of the tunnel.  A fence needed to be built around the car park for the office installed last week and these areas required blending together.  Rather annoyingly, the area between the office and the car park is a baseboard join, and this does require further work to improve its appearance, although it is getting there.

Detailing work focused on the area around the tunnel, the progress so far.

Some some bushes and static grass were added to the top of the scenery on the tunnel, to start hiding the join between the backscene and the top of the tunnel - this is 90% complete but still requires a little more work.  A fence was installed along the edge of the car park, made from some painted Ratio fence posts and plastic rod.  Some static grass was added against the fence posts and the along the edge of the office.   A small puddle/pond has been made in this area with PVA glue, although I think it still needs to dry further, it is still a bit opaque.  Again there is still some tidying up to do here, with some static grass to be added, but it is coming together quite nicely.  

View across the cobbles and the car park.  The new fence breaks up the scene nicely.

The office and adjacent car park.

The track around the tunnel still requires some tidying up, with some of the static grass removed today and some hoovering of this general area. The car park and the area of cobbles also requires a little work to blend it together but in general with the composition of the scene here.

The tunnel exit to the fiddle yard, I might re-attack the finish on the tunnel exit at some point in the future, it is somewhat monotone!

Brake van added for a sense of perspective.

So with this work undertaken it seemed fitting to run a few trains in this area and see how it looked.  In general, I am feeling rather pleased.  However, there is still more to do to finish off these boards, another day or so of effort I think.  Anyhow here are some videos of the trains running.  I really like the class 122 leaving the tunnel as it heads towards Charlton station.  Of note is the finished class 22, which I am really pleased with. The sound decoder in this sounds fantastic I think, and I will detail this model in another post.

Class 122 approaching Charlton station through the tunnel.

Class 22 running light through the tunnel, view from the office car park.

Class 22 having picked up a short freight train, heading back towards Barnstaple Junction disappearing through the tunnel

Sunday, 17 February 2019

Charlton progress and the class 122 DMU running

A few weeks ago I posted some images of the finished class 122 DMU from Dapol.  This weekend I started on finishing off the scenic work on Charlton. With this finishing off at least started (I am doing it on a board by board basis - there are three scenic boards in total), I could not resist the temptation of the running a few trains at the same time, whilst the copious amounts of PVA glue was drying.
Class 122 running into Charlton from Bideford.

Ready to head back to Bideford, although the wrong destination is showing!

So here are a couple of videos of the class 122 running. When I was detailing the class 122 DMU the body shell paint finish reacted with a weathering wash, and discoloured.  As a consequence I had to apply a heavier weathered finish than I originally intended.  However, with the DMU placed on the layout and running around the finish on the DMU does not look too bad.  With the lights switched on and the Howes sound decoder ticking over, the DMU looks and sounds the part.

Class 122 DMU start up.

Class 122 heading back to Bideford, leaving Charlton.

The lights on this DMU look particularly good I think.  The sound decoder is slightly tricky to drive, and not one of Howes best, in my opinion because of this.  Whilst it sounds great, you have to time the DMU run into the layout carefully, in order to not get a gear change and more acceleration whilst stopped at the platform.  However, it is great to have a non-coach passenger train to drive around the layout and I need a bit of practice on this one I think.
Class 122 leaving the station with the lighting shown to good effect.

Class 122 running back into Charlton, later in the day.

And leaving at dusk, back to Barnstaple.  Again the lights look good in this view.

I also started up the class 22, in order to do a little bit of adjustment of the sound levels, with this project now finished.  On some great other news I have booked the layout into its first exhibition at the Bluebell Railway (Sussex) this June.  I am going to run a 1970s set of stock on this, including the class 22, a class 25, a class 42 (warship) and the class 52 (Western) on this weekend - but more on this to come.

Baby warship heading towards Barnstaple with a short parcels train (recently finished CCT).