Monday, 17 October 2016

Potting Quay - the quay front

This update shows the the progress so far on the Pottington Quay micro-layout.  The quay front has advanced and is starting to look (a little) like a quay front.  The photographs show the developing scene, although there is a lot of modelling to do, to blend the various parts together.  The two sections of the old stone quay wall have been built, although only one has been painted.  The section on the right hand side of the iron wall section is only part way through being painted.  The pile driven quay front is the Noch kit that has been part built, but the top has yet to be painted and is only resting on the wall in this photograph. One of the next jobs is to get this top section painted and then glued down.  The area behind the quay wall needs to have a lot of DAS clay placed onto the baseboard, to continue the cobbled area of the quay front, although this has yet to be started.  In front of the quay wall are the mudflats that have so far had some plaster bandage added.  These now need to be painted and some  inter-tidal mud and water added.

The goods shed has been pretty much finished but has yet to be glued in place, as a web cam is going to be installed into the body shell with a floor.  This structure also needs a lot of ivy and moss to be added to complete the derelict late 1970s/early 1980s look. On the top of the quay front is an old warehouse, which can be seen placed on top of the quay in red brick.  The model is a Bachmann barn and this is going to have some bits added to it and be re-painted as a warehouse.

Lurking in the background is the first section of the platform to have been constructed and this structure has made some significant progress over this weekend and is now nearing completion on the build.  Placing all these components on the layout has started to give an idea of how the overall scene will look.  There is a lot of modelling to go, but once the buildings have been glued down the rails can be painted and ballasted, and then this will start to look much more like a layout.  As ever, there is not enough time in the week to get as much done as I hope to, but it is an enjoyable project and although progress has been slow, it is inching forwards.  Hopefully the next update will not be too far away, although the next few weeks require away working in Greece for a couple of weeks (its a tough life!), so this might stop the momentum for a while.

The quay wall with a (white) mudflat in front

The completed goods shed before addition of greenery to finish that abandoned look.

 Pile driven quay front and station in the background.

Up close of the completed section of quay wall.

Section of the quay wall showing some larger gaps where the dressed stones are starting to weather.

Overall shots of the layout so far.

Sunday, 9 October 2016

Class 45 with DCC sound on parcels service and layout progress


The progress on Pottington Quay has been pretty slow in the last few weeks.  As ever work has been busy and this has meant that time for modelling has been limited.  However, this weekend the baseboards saw a bit of plaster bandage laid down and the station platform was started.  I quickly realised I do not have enough SR cast concrete legs to finish the platform extension, so I am going to have to order some this week.  The platform is a tight squeeze with the car park behind it.  So tomorrow evening is going to be spent getting the position of this right.

Right now the biggest delay to progress on the layout, other than time, is a lack of buildings to place on the layout, in order to ballast around these.  There is a slight feeling of a lot of bare baseboard at the moment.  However, the goods shed is just about finished and a small section of redundant platform has also been built for this.  The quay wall section is almost complete now as well.  So later this week when everything has dried, been painted and glued in position I will show the progress of the layout so far.

Until then, my sound fitted class 45 is shown hauling the parcels service into the station area.  The bright blue CCT is the new bachmann model and clearly stands out - this needs toning down but has had a clean and now is in the paintshop.  I have another two CCTs, one BY van and two more 12t parcels van already built and waiting for painting.  Scaling up the size of the trains relative to the layout I have no idea how these parcels wagons are going to fit onto the layout!  The other video is a class 47 bringing in a shot engineers train.  At the front is Cambrian salmon wagon I built years ago, and I am going to experiment on this with some mig weathering powders, as the finish leaves a lot to be desired.


Sunday, 11 September 2016

All quiet on the western front - detailing the Heljan Western

Lots of modelling has been going on the last week.  I have made progress on a lot of projects, although the approach has been slightly scattershot, working on many different things.  One project that has been made some significant progress is the Heljan Western project.  The model is a second hand locomotive and for some reason it feels a lot less risky to take a tin of paints to second hand loco.  I was stumped for a long time on what on earth to do with the brake gear supplied with the model.  To be frank it is rubbish and requires some substantial work to get it looking ok and also usable on a workable model.

What a headache! - the brake gear attached to the Heljan chassis.

The first thing to do was reduce the length of the stretchers on the end of the brake rigging to fit into the bogie, so the brake shoes line up with the wheels (well almost line up anyhow!).  I drilled some new holes in the brake shoes and cut off the connecting plastic pipework supplied with the brake shoes.  Some brass rod was used to connect the brake gear together, using a straight length of 1.9cm between two right angle turns to fit into holes I had drilled into the brake shoes.  The brake gear was then aradited into place.

The pipe work has also been added to the front of the locomotive and a three link coupling was added, which has also been araldited to the buffer beam.  The standard method of using a spring to attach the coupling hook could not be used, due to it fouling the metal bar for the sprung buffers.  A lesson for next time will be to remove the original sprung buffers and replace with sprung buffers with an internal spring.  The wheels also had a good clean and it has had a test run around Potttington Quay, traversing all the point work without issue.

The body weathered and ready for reattachment to the chassis before final weathering.

The body work for the locomotive is shaping up, although some more weathering will be done when the body is reattached to the chassis, to try to blend it all together.  The next step is to paint the chassis details, such as pipework and brake gear and then attach the Howes ESU sound decoder, before reassembly and final weathering.  A long way to go, but I think this one is starting to come together.

Many different shade of white, faded blue and grime have been added to the bodyshell so far.

Sunday, 4 September 2016

Pottington Quay - the quay wall

Today is the end of a lovely two weeks of holiday, which have literally flown by.  I had grand plans for the amount of modelling I would get done, and although I have made some progress it is not quite as much as I had hoped for.  However, the first parts of the quay wall for Pottington are starting to come together.  The quay wall is made from two components, an original stone quay wall and a more recent iron piled structure.  At the moment, both are not complete but sufficient progress has been made to take a couple of photographs with trains running, to get a feel for how the scene would look.

View from the mudflats as a short freight arrives on the 'goods line'.

It is definitely heading in the right direction and the estuary level view with the train above is looking about right, showing the trains above eye level.  There is an awful lot of painting to do on these structures to get them ready.  The two older sections of stone quay wall are built from DAS clay on a polystyrene backing. One of these has now been completed, although it warped slightly when it was drying.  This does not matter too much, as the baseboard level will be raised slightly with inter-tidal mudflats modelled on top.  I am going to cut a piece of foam board to model the mudflats on and put this against the quay wall.

A class 47 shunts spoil wagons while a class 37 picks up some goods van that have just been unloaded.

The pile driven iron quay front is very similar to the one now at Bideford and is the Faller kit.  This needs to be repainted before it is installed.  As shown in the photographs it is only placed on the baseboard and will be glued in place when it has been painted and the mudflats are finished.

Same shot slight higher showing the iron piled section of the quay wall.

Another feature of the layout is a disused goods shed that will have a web cam installed in it linked directly to a lap-top.  This will provide another way to view the layout and also from a different angle.  The goods shed is a slightly modified Wills kit and more progress has been made on this too.  However, it does need a bit of distressing with the airbrush just to blend it together and this is a project to finish this week.

Watch out for those planks from the roof - they look like they are about to fall off!!!  This good shed will have the web cam located in it, looking out of the window.  It was closed in the 1960s, but was not demolished.

Sunday, 21 August 2016

Buildings for Pottington Quay

Again work life has interrupted my modelling for a couple of weeks, having been working away in Europe.  I have now returned home for a break of two weeks and the priority is to get some of the buildings for Pottington Quay Started.  The picture below shows the mass of kits and bits and bobs ready to go for the layout.  So for the next week there is going to be a lot of kit building.  I have nearly finished the goods shed (Wills kit) and the signal box has been started.  I have also got some measurements for the platform and one of the platform buildings is finished.  I have also cut some polystyrene for the quay wall to cover with DAS clay, so I aim to finish this structure by the end of the week.....

Some of the projects for this week.

In other projects I have been baffled by the brake gear rigging on the Heljan Western.  The DCC sound chip has been ordered from Howes, so I hope to finish this project this week too.   Further updates to follow.

Saturday, 6 August 2016

Pottington Quay Micro Layout - further progress (of sorts)....

Well a bit more progress has been made on Pottington Quay.  Track testing has been a very enjoyable process and all is working well.  The SEEP point motors are wired directly to the DCC powerbus and everything has been tested with the Bachmann EZ controller.  Everything is working like a dream and I have spent a good deal of time getting out some old stock and trundling it around the layout. However, I did connect up my NCE powercab, as I was running more stock and the EZ controller can only control up to 9 locomotives.  When using the NCE powercab the point motors won't throw, even though they are using a CDU.  Arghh the mysteries of DCC!  There is no doubt that in terms of operation and enjoyment DCC is a massive progression, but I am still trying to get my head around some of the finer workings!

Class 08 shunting ballast wagons ready to form a train back to Exeter.

Class 37 picks up an airbraked freight.

When playing with the trains it became pretty obvious that using 2 separate rakes of coaches was quite laborious in terms of using 3 link couplings.  The fiddle yard has two lines running into the station area.  So a priority has to be a getting a DMU working on one of the passenger services, leaving another locomotive hauled passenger service.  The fiddle yard will easily accommodate a class 108, class 121 and 2 coach locomotive hauled rake.  The goods line coming to the quay area provides plenty of scope for moving wagons around and then using the incoming locomotive to head out on a passenger service.  I also got out my class 121 recently and running is as poor as I remember.  I have a 121 already stripped and I might paint this in BR blue and remove the motor to run in with a class 108 set, leaving it unpowered.  The Hornby motor is a shocker!  And as the Bachmann or Dapol offering will be here reasonably soon I do not see much point in putting a lot of effort into remotoring one of these older 121 units.

So I have got to the point where I have a list of projects to really make the layout operational.  Priority buildings are the signal box and platform.  The platfrom will be a mix of MJT components, scrathbuilding and Peco parts.  The signal box is a ratio GWR kit.  A second priority is to construct a quay wall from foamboard and DAS clay.  These are all critical pats of the layout that will start to transform the bare boards.The other key tasks are to complete the trackwork with buffer stops and LED stop lamps and add a couple of yard lamps.  In terms of rolling stock the class 37 sound chip is going off to be reblown and the western sound chip is about to be ordered.  Some superstrip is winging its way to me to strip down a class 25 for a fulll repaint and the 108 DMU and second MK1 need detailing for a basic set of rolling stock to run in the 1970s/1980s era.  Add to this I have just removed (broken!) the bogie frames for the class 47 to repaint these and I have plenty of modelling projects to keep me occupied.  The following are a few shots from playing trains on the layout - very enjoyable!

Class 33 ready to head back to Exeter with a passenger service.

Class 08 shunting.

Class 47 moving to the front of the passenger service.  This locomotive is now back in the painshop.

Class 25 ready to depart with a short freight to Barnstaple.  This locomotive is about to have a full strip and repaint, being one of my first repainting attempts.

View into the layout from the goods line in the fiddle yard.

Birds eye view of the layout showing a locomotive hauled passenger service about to depart.

Class 33 ready to return to Exeter riverside with a small mixed freight.

One of the next projects, swapping over the class 37 body shells and getting the sound reblown on the class 37.

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Pottington Quay Micro layout - shunting practice

Since wiring up the layout I have spent the last week or so laying the track in the fiddle yard and the running trains on the layout.  In particular I have been keen to play with the shunting options of the layout; needless to say it is a lot of fun, although at times my patience has been tested with 3 link couplings. I have really enjoyed shunting trains around and using an 08 to move wagons to where they are needed after they have been been brought onto the layout.

A filthy class 25 arrives with a short ballast train.  This locomotive is heading back to the paintshop soon!

There are two lessons learnt so far.  The first is the layout is much more enjoyable to operate from the front.  I was going to use a Bachmann E-Z controller - but will revert back to the NCE powercab - to give the flexibility to move about.  However, the control panel is built into the back of the layout - so by standing at the front there s a lot of leaning over the fiddle yard - ah well.... you live and learn.

After uncoupling from its ballast train the 25 is used to take the passenger service back towards Exeter.

The second issue is the front siding was originally going to be an engine shed that had been converted into a wagon repair works.  The engine shed itself would have been a scenic break for the second fiddle yard exit/entrance.  However, this does not work as I often need to use the siding to store a loco/wagon during shunting.  So with this I am going to have to work out another way to disguise the entrance/exit to the fiddle yard and leave this as an operational siding.

Classes 33 and 08 shunting wagons and getting the ballast train ready, with a class 25 waiting in the siding.

Another key part of the layout is there is no run around facilities for locomotive hauled services, due to it being a truncated branchline and the difficulty BR would have had to change the track plan here. So when a class 25 with a couple of mk1s appears it needs a locomotive to take the carriages away back up the line.  This is great, as it always means you can justify a class 25/31/33 hanging around the sidings awaiting the next passenger service.  I plan to run one set of locomotive hauled stock and one DMU into the station area.

View towards the fiddle yard, with a mock up building where a goods shed will be placed.

I have also been running a couple of DCC sound fitted Bachmann locomotives around, especially the class 25 they released a few years back.  I have to say, the sounds are pretty rubbish on the factory fitted locomotives and not at all in sync with the engines movements.  So I am about to purchase a Howes sound chip for the Western project and reblow the class 25 and 37 Bachmann sounds using Howes again.  Getting the modelling/paint-works set up for detailing these locomotives and starting the buildings on Pottington Quay is now the priority, but as ever I am off away with work for a couple of weeks now, so this will all have to wait until August to get started in earnest in detailing the stock/layout.

Time-lapse sequence