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Tuesday, 6 August 2019

Here comes a (small!) milk train!

After finishing the detailing of the first Dapol milk wagon, I realised that the non-factory weathered wagons were a better bet for detailing than the weathered ones.  I know the Dapol tank contains a multitude of sins, but unless I am willing to pay £30+ for a brass kit, which I am not sure I have the skills to complete, I am stuck with them!  However, I think that with a bit of painting the wagon is a passable generic representation of a milk wagon.

The recently finished tanker on the right and the first attempt on the left.

So for this one I started off with a non-weathered version.  I dismantled the wagon, fitted three link couplings and gave it a wash ready for painting.  On the underframe I tried to pick out some details using rust, weathered black and white, blended in with some frame dirt and sleeper grime.  On the wagon body I tried to run vertical streaks down the body, to give an impression of water running down the tank.  This was all sealed up with a few coats of satin varnish before reassembly.  I think this wagon looks much better than the first one, although a bit of variation in a rake is always a good thing.  I have about 3 more to go, to enable a decent length milk train to be run - hopefully in time for the layouts next exhibition in November.

A class 25 on the mixed freight with the milk wagons at Charlton.

Friday, 26 July 2019

Bachmann Class 37 with DCC sound

I am continuing with my program to detail some diesels and add DCC sound to them. It is a bit of an eclectic mix at the moment, just locomotives that I had already purchased some years ago but never got around to updating.  The latest one out of the workshop is a Bachmann Class 37, in railfreight livery.  This was the first locomotive I ever purchased with DCC sound on board and it was a game changer for me.  Hearing a locomotive with sounds changed the direction and goal of what I wanted to model in future.  It was factory fitted with a lok sound ver. 3.5 decoder and Bachmann sounds, which to be honest were a little naff.  I had also never got around to undertaking the weathering on this locomotive, so it has just plodded around in a pristine state for years.  The railfreight livery is a bit outside of what I intend to model now, but I thought as I had this locomotive I would finish it off.

The finished class 37 running on Charlton.


Running into the station - the start off and idle on the Howes decoder is spot on!

As per normal the chassis was fitted with a 3 link coupling and the ends were detailed.  I dismantled all the components, such as bogies,removed the glazing and sealed off the lighting units.  I initially applied an all over body wash and removed parts of this with a cotton bud, before spraying various  shades of weathered black, frame dirt and sleeper grime over the locomotive.  The finish came out a little heavier than I originally intended and there was one coat of weathered black where the airbrush clogged and the effect was a little heavier than I was aiming for.  However, it looks ok, although there are a few areas I am not so pleased with - it definitely sits in my I could do better camp!

The finished class 37.

And heading back to Barnstaple junction.

The decoder was removed and sent off to Howes for reblowing.  Following this being replaced the locomotive was reassembled and given a test run.  I also gave it a little outing at the Pevensey exhibition last week, although as I was running 1970s BR blue, I did it when no-one was looking!!!! A class 47 and a class 33 are now nearing completion and I will update these on here soon, although I head away with work for most of August, so it could be a little while before the next update.

Saturday, 20 July 2019

Pevensey Exhibition

Today I am absolutely knackered after exhibiting Charlton at the Pevensey Exhibition.  This was a 'local' show, although for the first four hours it was non-stop and absolutely jammed.  Thankfully it did tail off a bit for the final couple of hours, which was nice I was fried from operating the layout solo!  For a small show I thought the standard of the modelling on show was extremely high.  There were some great layouts - although given that I had very little time to look about I did not take any photographs.  However, there were some excellent layouts there and it was a very friendly show.  Again I had a lot of good conversations with different people which makes the whole event really worthwhile.  Generally the layout performed faultlessly, although the class 22 needs a good wheel clean.  Other than this it was clean sailing, the only problems being when I failed to set a point properly, driver induced error!

The layout set up and running.

For this show I set the layout at the back of the trestle stands and put the front drape over the rest of the extension.  I also increased the height of the layout by about 8 inches.  This stopped people touching the layout and it also stopped them leaning on the layout  - so no repeat performances of last time and the demise of the class 45!.  So a great show, great fun but very tiring!!!  

Class 25 on the milk train.

Class 22 on the parcels train.

Saturday, 13 July 2019

Pottering about

Since the exhibition I have been pretty busy and have only made a bit of progress here and there with tasks.  The class 45 seems knackered.  After considering what to do I think I am going to send it back to Bachmann to get fixed.  I replaced the bogie and the broken gear tower, but there is something else seriously wrong with the chassis.  Maybe bent drive shafts or a knackered motor, I am not sure.  The locomotive does have some sentimental value to me - it was one of the first things I ever managed to finish properly.  Whilst I am not overly happy with the finish on it now, it was a very reliable locomotive.  So hence I think I am going to cough up the money and be done with it!!! 

A new project is to fit lights to this CK in order to finish a 3 coach rake for the layout.

So with the class 45 out of the roster I ordered a Howes DCC sound decoder for a class 33.  I finished a Heljan class 33/2 years ago and never got around to fitting in the sound chip. So I have taken this locomotive apart and it is currently sat in the modelling boxes waiting for some time tomorrow to fit the chip in. I think the speaker might need to go in the fuel tank so it is a bigger job than I was expecting - but hey these jobs often drag out don't they!  Recently, I have been weathering a class 37 in railfrieght livery.  This locomotive does not really suit the time period I am currently modelling, but it was the first sound locomotive I ever purchased, coming prefitted with Bachmann sounds.  I have sent the decoder off for a reblow and the weathering is finished, so I will piece this back together tomorrow - ready for next weekend.

The layout at the Blubell exhibition.

The new fronts being placed on the baseboards.

Other than this I am tidying up the railway ready for its next exhibition in a weeks time at Pevensey.  I am fitting some new fronts to the baseboards.  These come with the Tim Horn baseboard kits, but I never got around to fitting them.  However, these will tidy up the appearance of the layout no end.  I have also ordered a couple of posters to fit over the fiddle yard boards, with the name and details of the layout on them.  I have also started work on detailing a class 47.  I have just stripped down a mk1 CK coach ready to fit some lights into it.  Alongside this I have nearly finished another SPV parcels wagon and a milk tanker.  So lots of small bits of progress.  

The class 47 during the initial stages of weathering with an all over body wash done.

The class 47 chassis stripped down ready for weathering.

Sunday, 30 June 2019

The Bluebell Model Railway Exhibition - a success (mainly!!)

Well I have just got back from my first exhibition.  I spent two days operating Charlton at the Bluebell Model Railway weekend, set up at Horsted Keynes.  This was my first exhibition operating a layout and the first time I have ever displayed any of modelling.  It was with a little trepidation that I turned up on the Saturday morning to set up.  I am pleased to say that I found the weekend a very fun experience, if not a little exhausting!  I was operating on my own, so keeping something moving all the time demanded quite a lot of concentration.  However, the days flew by and it was fantastic to have some dedicated running time.

The layout set up ready to go.  The black drape needs a little work!

The class 45 running in a passenger service - before it was sent flying to the floor!

Like doing anything for the first time, it is a steep learning curve.  The layout behaved faultlessly, with the exception of one loose wire on a point that occasionally needed a tweak. The engines behaved beautifully and the slow speed running and shunting was fantastic.  I was also happy with how the couplings worked, although I realised pretty quickly that the class 22 could not be coupled up to a coaching rake under the gaze of the public - the body skirt essentially hides the coupling.  However, with the Western and class 45 on the passenger service, plus the class 22 or 25 on the freight side, everything worked really well.  I also quickly realised that I tried to cram far too much stock into the fiddle yard and slowly reduced this over the weekend.  A freight train or two, a passenger service and DMU were more than sufficient to keep the layout working.  

View from the other side.

A busy moment as the western heads out on another passenger turn (what happened to the windscreen wipers??.....

However, there was also a slight downside, with a woman who inexplicably gave the fiddle yard a frightful bump and sent the class 45 clattering onto the concrete floor.  I was a little annoyed, but she did apologise - I have realised that people do get too close, so next time I am going to set the layout further back than I did this time.  However, other than the class 45 now being completely knackered, this was the only down side.  I realised that I need a lip on the fiddle yard to stop this happening again, so this will be installed before its next outing.  This was certainly a preventable problem and was caused by my own inexperience of not having exhibiting before and realising that some people are not that spatially aware!!  The western also somehow lost a pair of windscreen wipers and the roof fell off the BY wagon, but there are easy fixes.  Other than these very minor issues, the weekend was fantastic and I am keen to do more.  There were a lot of great conversations and some very kind comments, making the whole experience very rewarding.  It also gave me a lesson in not being too precious about the layout - it was built to be used.  I can see that taking it to exhibitions will cause some wear and tear, but I think better that than just keeping it at home.  Thank you to anyone who came to see the layout and I hope you enjoyed it!  Off to Ebay now to get a new class 45 bogie and gear box!!

The class 45 stripped down tonight, ready for repair.  It needs a whole new bogie plus gear box.  However, as luck would have it, I think there is one on ebay right now!  Hopefully this should not be too difficult to fix and patch up.

Friday, 28 June 2019

Am I ready? - the first exhibition and a class 25 with DCC sound

So tomorrow I will take my layout to an exhibition - this is the layouts first exhibition and it is also my first exhibition ever!  I am looking forward to it, although I am also a little nervous.  I wonder how my modelling will compare to the other layouts and more importantly how the layout will operate over a whole weekend of running.  However, I am really looking forward to giving it a go.  My son was meant to be helping out, but I guess young men have better things to do with their time nowadays (he is working saving up for University so I should not complain!), so it is me on my own for the weekend.  Whilst the layout is finished, the front parts of the baseboards could do with a little tidying up.  I have purchased a black curtain, but have just run out of time to do anything else.

The newly sound chipped class 25 shunting at Charlton.

The class 25 I sound chipped several months ago has been put out of service, due to me somehow dislodging the handrail.  So I have managed to sound chip another class 25 a couple of weeks ago and this will now fit on the roster, alongside a class 52, a class 42, a class 22 and a class 45.  As per normal this is a Howes programmed Loksound decoder, although I believe it is the newer version 5.0.  The Bachmann rats are great little locomotives so I envision this will be doing a lot of the work tomorrow.

Class 25 leaving Charlton.

So the layout is in the van ready to go tomorrow morning.  All the stock has been sorted and is packed up.  Fingers crossed I do not forget anything....and wish me luck.  In case you are interested in coming, the exhibition is on the Bluebell Railway and I am at the Horsted Keynes sections - maybe see you tomorrow.

Class 25 running onto to its train.

Saturday, 15 June 2019

BY van in the engineers train

As well as finishing off some of the detailing on the layout last weekend, I gave the final blast of varnish to a BY wagon.  This is the standard Parkside kit, finished off in engineers olive green.  Many years ago I built a CCT and a PMV, both finished in olive green. So the BY van now joins them in this small train.  I have recently revised my interest in building a short(ish!) train of engineering CCTS and vans.  I have now got a PMV, CCT, 12t van, and recently purchased a Bachmann olive green BG to run with this.  On the work bench I am building a GWR Python wagon and a GWR Iron Mink wagon to add to this in some shabby engineering olive liveries!  So maybe not such a short train, but something a little different and fun to build.

Finished BY at the station.

Being shunted about at the station.

Coupled up to its train.

As per normal this was built from the kit, although I reinforced the joins with some plastic strip.  It was painted with the airbrush, using Railmatch enamels, and the transfers are from Modelmaster.  I am not sure the lighting in these photographs does the wagon justice - but I think the detailing on this one looks spot on!  So another one finished and ready to go.  I will definitely be taking this van to the exhibition in a few weeks time.  When I built the original PMV I somehow forgot to add the footboards, so I also need to revisit this over the coming weeks. Summer is here now and I have to go trans-Atlantic with work for a week or so, so an update when I get back.

At the station ready for collection.

Coupled up to a warship and heading back to Exeter!