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Wednesday, 16 January 2019

More Parcels Stock - another LMS CCT

Over the xmas break and early new year I have been working away on finishing off a few projects that have been kicking around my modelling boxes.  One of these was another LMS CCT, a dia 1929 with windows.  This model has had a long history, I reckon it has taken three years of very non-intensive work to finish it off!!

Finished LMS CCT. The underframe weathering can be seen to good effect in this picture.

Anyhow, with some modelmasters transfers and a good weathering job over a coat of BR faded blue, I am pretty happy with how this one turned out!  As per normal all painting and weathering was carried out with an airbrush, fixing the decals with micro sol/set.  

Side view of the CCT. The correct transfers were a bit of guess work....

So another one for the finished pile!  More parcels stock for Charlton; one wonders just how much parcels traffic a small Devon terminus would generate - quite a lot judging by the number of wagons I have built!!  Other projects are making good progress, with the sound fitted class 122 DMU and sound fitted class 22 nearing completion.  A dance hall brake van is also nearing the transfers stage, so plenty of non layout progress at the moment.

View showing one of the ends; not the grease sploges on the buffers.

Sunday, 6 January 2019

Class 122 DMU progress

A happy new year to everyone!

Over the xmas break I finally managed to get back into the swing of modelling.  No monumental leaps were made, but a little bit of progress was achieved and this was definitely needed to reignite some flagging motivation!  The Charlton layout was packed up before the xmas break and it requires a weekend of effort to finish off a lot of little nagging areas of the layout.  This is on the to do list for February - so until then I am going to work on completing a few pieces of rolling stock.

So I picked up the Dapol Class 122 I had started some while ago and made an attempt to get this finished off.  The original problem with this project, was the application of an initial all over body wash of weathered black and frame dirt, diluted with Humbrol thinners.  For some reason, this attacked the Dapol paint job, and quite frankly made a right mess of the body shell....be warned!

The body shell, showing the faded paint job, after a weathering wash, thinned with Humbrol thinnners.

I subsequently tried to blend this paint job together, using some shades of faded rail blue and weathering to disguise this.  The end result was a body shell that was a lot more heavily weathered than I originally intended.  Whilst not a disaster, it is not quite how I envisioned the DMU turning out.

The finished body shell weathering

The degree of weathering visible is much heavier than I originally intended.

Cab showing the driver.

View from the other end - slightly better!

The underframe was a lot easier to do and was weathered using various shades of sleeper grime, frame dirt, rust, etc, all from the airbrush.  When the underframe was complete I installed a Howes DMU sound decoder and  a Roads and Rails double Iphone speaker into the body shell.  This required a little bit of cutting away of the original speaker housing on the plastic underframe, but was relatively easy to do.  The interior had some passengers and a driver added, and the lights and glazing were reassembled.

The speaker in  place.

Underframe weathered and passengers ready!

Hopefully some of the variation in the underframe weathering is visible in this shot.

Close up showing the cut away of the plastic interior to house the speaker.

I still need to finish off the bogies, with a blast of matt varnish and reassemble the hole unit.  However, the verdict so far?.....I am not really happy with this model.  The weathered finish on the body shell is too much.  I am considering just buying a new body shell or a whole new DMU!!  Whilst that might sound drastic, when you consider the cost of the DMU plus DCC sound plus speaker is somewhere in the region of £250, that is a lot of money to spend on something you are not happy with.  The whole thing needs to be reassembled to see how it looks together, and then I need to spend a weekend running it on the layout to see how I feel about it.  However, a somewhat frustrating project so far.....at least the Class 22 is shaping up nicely!

Tuesday, 25 December 2018

A Merry Christmas

A Merry Christmas to one and all!

I hope to get back to some regular blog updates next year.  The last couple of months have been too hectic to achieve any modelling.  However, you never know what Santa might have got me this year.....

Saturday, 27 October 2018

Class 45 Howes DCC sound - speaker replacement

As part of the updating of the DCC sound for Charlton, I fitted a new speaker into the Class 45.  This was the first locomotive I tried to put a chip into, and I used the small round speaker supplied with the Loksound decoder. I had never been happy with the sound quality on this locomotive, so I replaced the original speaker with a much better ESU 20x40mm speaker.  The difference is quite startling and certainly less tinny.  I have now settled on using either iphone speakers or the ESU 20x40mm speakers on all the locomotives.

Class 45 at Charlton station.

Original speaker.

New speaker.

The use of better quality speakers and running multiple trains together, means that difference in the volume of different locomotive has become quite apparent.  As a consequence, I have been playing with adjusting the master sound levels on the decoder, programming them using my NEC Powercab.  I am now getting to a point where one locomotive does not completely dominate the others.  What is also very noticeable, is that running in a train that is not sound fitted, after using several sound fitted locomotives, the non-sound fitted locomotive is very one dimensional in comparison.  So from now on, I am only going to use sound fitted locomotives on the layout.  I only need a maximum of four locomotives plus a DMU to operate the layout, so this is quite achievable.  I plan to fit sound to a number of locomotives over the next few months, for key classes suitable to North Devon, such as a warship and a Hymek.

Class 45 running around its train.

Leading an engineers train out of the sidings, back towards Barnstaple.

On other project fronts, the class 31 has had the Hornby TTS chip removed and this has been replaced with a Howes sound decoder - this now drives and sounds like a dream.  The class 122 is nearing completion out of the workshop, although my air compressor has broken recently, and is providing irregular spray patterns - which has held up the class 122 dmu. This has the added complication of poor quality spray finishes on some of my projects, which will need to be remedied when a new compressor arrives.  Until then, there is always more detailing to go on the layout - the car park has been added to the layout and this requires finishing off and detailing - especially the addition of a fence which has made absolutely zero progress.  I have ordered a few trees for behind the station and the station lights still require being added.  Although these details still require sorting out, especially the station lights, I am confident that with a couple of days modelling I will be able to finish these projects.  So I am happy to start looking for exhibitions to take the layout too.  Problem is I have no idea how to obtain invites for shows.  I would like to start early next year exhibiting the layout so any recommendations on how I would achieve this would be most welcome!!

Sunday, 21 October 2018

Layout detailing and Dapol paint woes

The layout has continued to make some slow but steady progress, with the fence along the back scene being joined up to the tunnel mouth.  This area has had some details added to it, such as some scrap outside the signal box, having been left from the rationlisation and closing down of the signal box.  The air of the station is intended to be something that is run down post Beaching, but somehow manages to cling on and not be shut down by BR, although it is now the terminus of a truncated branch.

The area of detailing behind the signal box, on the way to the fiddle yard.

More weeds growing along the railway wall.

Slightly elevated view showing the fence and tunnel.  The car park will be to the right of the office block.

Aerial shot showing the detailing at the end of the layout.  There is more to do, but it is coming along.

This area of the layout is now heading towards completion, although there are a couple of jobs to finish, which is the building of an interior for the office block and adding a car park and fence here.  The car park is a sheet of plasticard that is currently in the paintshop, but the office interior and fence are yet to be started.  Some more trees are also needed to sit behind the station and also on top of the tunnel, just to blend these ares a little into the backscene.  The other really important task is to fit lights to the station and glue down the station building with some signage added.  These are all relatively small jobs, but they all take time.

In terms of rolling stock, I intend to run two DMU services on Charlton, one being a BR blue 122 and the other a BR blue 108.  I made a start on detailing the Dapol class 122, with the standard first step in the weathering being an all over body wash of grime, wiping most of this away with a cotton bud dipped in white spirit.  The results of this on the Dapol 122 (and also a class 22 I am doing at the same time) were a disaster.  Either the white spirit or the enamel thinner attacked the Dapol paint finish and I was left with a body shell that is best described as a bit pickled.  I am currently trying to rescue this paint job with an airbrush, blending in some weathered BR blue. The end result will be a DMU that will carry more grime than I was originally intending.  Reading on the web I am surprised that no-one else has mentioned anything similar.

This is how the Dapol paint looked after applying a weathering wash.

I am now desperately trying to fix this with the airbrush, blending in this paint.

So to keep me sane I have also spent a little bit of time running trains recently. Keeping the layout moving and operational helps me to find a little bit of inspiration to finish the layout detailing - when motivation is a little on the low side.  So a class 25 backing onto its train and about to depart on the 18:25 to Barnstaple Jn and on to Exeter, sometime in the late 1970s.

Class 25 backing on its train.

And heading back to Barnstaple Jn, and Exeter.


Wednesday, 10 October 2018

Some Charlton detailing: a Yard lamp and office building, plus station signs.....

So a little bit more progress has been made on the layout over the weekend, with the addition of a couple of working lights.  I am getting close to finishing off the scenic side of the layout and wanted a couple of working lights on each of the main boards.  This does present a little bit of a problem, as the boards need to be separated when dismantling the layout and I do not want further wires to have to be placed across the boards when I set the layout up each time.

The new lights in the fertiliser office and outside the provender store.

So I decided to place a small battery pack under each of the main boards, from which several lights can be run.  Given that the lights are only using small leds, the batteries should last for a very long time.  I glued the first battery pack to the underside of the board and wired it up to some lights.  The first is a small yard lamp and the second is part of an Express Models lighting strip, placed into the interior of a the small office next to the provender store.  Both these lighting units work happily off the 6v supplied by the batteries.  

The new office block with the lights switched on- this definitely requires an interior.

The office block is a ready to plonk Bachmann building, which I think works nicely in the small space provided.  Originally I was scratchbuilding a warehouse, but to be frank this had got nowhere over several months.  The office block will be used by the fertiliser distribution company, with fertiliser being unloaded at the provender store or on the adjacent area of cobbles.  

The office block is set into the cobbles and requires a little bit of work to blend it in properly.

Some other small detailing work was also carried out over the weekend.  The station has had some signs added, although I am not sure if I am happy with them.  The signs were purchased on line, allowing the individual station name to be presented, but they have a very glossy finish.  They have been mounted on some concrete station boards and placed on the station, in some pre-drilled holes, although not glued down for the time being.  I am going to wait a while to see if they start to bug me or not before gluing them down.

View across the station, with a new track side fence added and station signs evident.  The first tress have been added behind the station.

One of the new station signs, although I am not sure if I like the glossy finish....

The tunnel at the end of the layout has also had some static grass added.  The covering is currently a bit uneven, due to the corner of the layout being difficult to work in, especially with the static grass sieve.  Some detailing and tidying up needs to happen at this end of the layout, with the addition of some bushes and some hedges.  Lastly, the concrete fence has been finished, joining up to the tunnel, running along the backscene.  Some clutter has been added to the layout here, imagining some of the dismantling that took place as part of the Beaching cuts, although the station itself survives.

The Barnstaple end of the layout, with the tunnel starting to come together and and some clutter added to the permanant way.

So more scenery work to go, but also some more steps towards completion.  I need to add a car park this weekend, next to the office block, and add some bushes to the tunnel. There are also some trees to add along the backscene behind the station, to fill out the scene a little.  However, all in all, it is heading in the right direction I think!

Thursday, 4 October 2018

Iphone speakers and DCC sound

A few posts ago I decided to experiment with some speakers for my sound fitted locomotives.  Both the Class 45 and Western had smaller speakers, both of which I had become increasingly irritated with the sound quality on.  Both speakers produced quite tinny sounds and were quite trebly in the sound they produced.  So after a bit of web googling I opted to buy a couple of small double Iphone 6 speakers from Roads and Rails.  This evening I swapped over the smaller rectangular speaker in the Western for comparison.  The difference is quite outstanding, although on the videos, it is less noticeably.  The biggest difference is the base end of the sound, which is now far more distinct.  The general sound functions are hugely improved. The swap over took 30 mins but has increased the sound reproduction no end.  The lesson, use a higher quality speaker in the locomotive!  By the time you fit a sound decoder in a locomotive, you are looking at a £200 locomotive.  The speaker is a relatively cheap part and one that will improve your enjoyment of using the locomotive no end.  Another job for the weekend now is to change the speaker in the class 45....

Start up old speaker

Start up new speaker

Running old speaker

Running new speaker