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Sunday, 14 February 2021

Class 50 and Class 25 on engineering works at Charlton station

This weekend I ran a few trains on Charlton.  It is probably the last time I am going to set up the layout before selling it.  I fixed up a rake of engineering spoil wagons and also some hopper wagons.  The engineers spoil wagons are all kit built and it gave me a lot of satisfaction seeing the rake running together.  They have been completed over the years, with varying levels of competency; however, it feels very great to see a train composed of my own kit built stock.  It is now time to sell Charlton and make room for the next layout.  I have a baseboard ready to start (subject to some work with a saw to open out one end) - and I am excited to build a much more ambitious layout.  Anyhow enjoy for now - more updates soon!

Engineering Sunday at Charlton.

Initially a Class 25 brings in hopper wagons with fresh ballast.

Before leaving and collecting a rake of spoil wagons for spent ballast.

The spoil train is too long for the loop at Charlton, so a class 50 picks up the train to head down the line for track relaying.

Tuesday, 9 February 2021

Class 50 just about ready to roll

A long saga from the depths of my modelling boxes has just about been finished.  I now have a DCC sound Class 50 for the layout.  I do like the Class 50s and originally wanted a couple for layout....so I purchased the Hornby model around c. 2011 in BR blue.  This model languished for ages, whilst I got around to finding some time to play with it and finally in 2016 I took it out the box.  The model just would not run from new.  It turns out, this model had a faulty PCB board (it was well known fault) that Hornby had replaced for free at the time; problem was by the time I got around to looking at it, Hornby refused to replace the PCB board, as they said they had no replacement boards available.

Resolution - overall I am pretty happy with the finish on this locomotive.

I had by then acquired another second hand Class 50, so I used this chassis, coupled with the BR blue body and set about detailing the body.  As per normal multiple washes and coats were applied to the body to provide a little bit of tonal variation, whilst the chassis and bogies were treated separately.  Putting the locomotive back together was a total nightmare.  The Hornby glazing, once out is very difficult to get back into place and it looks pretty poor.  The headcode box also needs replacing properly.  However, I have had such a difficult job to get this back together (the glazing, plus the doors) that I am reluctant to take it apart again.

The class 50 seen here shunting some wagons at Charlton.

I like this shot a lot - it looks like a typical, grey overcast North Devon day!

However, the verdict?  I am delighted with the how the model turned out, minus the niggles mentioned above.  The Howes DCC sound chip is pretty fantastic too, so it looks like a class 50 and sounds like one also.  I am going to try to replace the headcode box from the outside and then let sleeping dogs lie! However, I am somewhat put off buying a Hornby diesel locomotive again.  The bogie side frame arrangement is difficult to work with (in my opnion).  Added to this the PCB board was faulty and the ability to take out the cabs/glazing and doors was very awkward.  Would I bother to do another?  Well I do want another class 50 and have one ready to paintstrip....I had better let the memory of this fade away before I start.....

Anyhow a couple of videos of it pottering around Charlton station.


Sunday, 31 January 2021

Well what an enjoyable weekend: An 0 gauge Lowmac and 13T open wagon, an 00 gauge Sr 40T wagon and a LNER CCT!

This weekend I have had some time to really do some modelling, a few undisturbed stints over the weekend.  I have to thank my most amazing partner - who is very understanding when I say I am going to disappear for a few hours!  Anyhow, enough of that - more about the modelling.  I have a few, very long burner projects that have dragged on and on.  The first is a Slaters 0 Gauge 13T open wagon.  I have no idea how long I have been on this project, but it has been dragging on for probably 4 years.  This week I am finally getting around to finishing this off, just needing to add a few etched brass castings.  One side of the wagon is almost finished and the second side will be a lot quicker now I have got the measure of what I need to do.  Hopefully, I will get an evening this week to finish it off.  I am keen to develop my rust weathering skills further.  Being a steel open wagon, this is going to serve as a test bed for developing some better rust weathering skills.

Slaters 0 Gauge 13T wagon heading towards completion (finally!)

My old man has also recently got into 0 gauge. I got him a skill builder etched brass kit the Xmas before last and once built, I offered to paint it for him.  I am keen to develop my wood weathering skills, so this wagon is going to be a test bed for some advanced weathering (or at least I hope so).  It is shaping up nicely so far, although there is a long way to go yet.  I have purchased the AK International wood weathering kit for this and it will serve as a test best for these techniques.


My dads 0 Gauge LNER Lowmac going through the paint shop.

A wagon that has been finally constructed this weekend, is an 00 gauge SR 40T ballast wagon.  This complements the 2 recently finished Walrus wagons, all constructed from the Cambrian kits.  The SR 40T wagon is not one of my best builds, it is a bit wonky!  However, I hope that a good paint job will disguise the building sins!  This is a quick build, taking a little over a year!


SR 40T ballast wagon heading for the paintshop.

Last up, is a much quicker fix!  It is a Hornby LNER CCT.  This is yet another parcels wagon for the layout.  I converted this to 3 link couplings and it is now ready for the paintshop, after a wash.

Ready for painting - yet more parcels stock.

So plenty of progress and it feels very satisfying.  I have also sorted out the paint boxes this weekend and a number of models are very close to completion.  I am determined to not buy any more stock at the moment.  I have lots of kits to build and lots of stock to weather!  I also have all the new baseboards for the next layout ordered.  So I want to work through everything I have right now, this includes finishing off a DC kits class 119 DMU, sound chipping and detailing a BR blue class 108 DMU, detailing and sound chipping a Hymek, Western, Class 42 and Class 43, and maybe even sorting out my Lima class 37.   Hopefully, plenty of more progress over the weeks ahead....although whether I will finish all of these projects before being distracted is open to question!

Sunday, 17 January 2021

Class 45 (revised!!!) - DCC sound and running!

A couple of years ago, I posted on here about the destruction of a Bachmann Class 45 at an exhibition.  A lady pushing a wheelchair smashed into the layout and sent the locomotive crashing into a concrete floor. It taught me that I need a guard on the side of the fiddleyard to stop this happening again.  I did half heartedly attempt to fix the Class 45, but it was a big job and I felt I could do a better finish on the weathering, as the original Class 45 was an early attempt.  I managed to get a new Class 45 from ebay and over the last year or so I have been detailing this.

Finished class 45 on Charlton.

Class 45 on a short engineers train at Charlton.

I took the DCC sound chip (Howes) out of the class 45 and added in a double IPhone speaker from Road and Rails.  I also used the original bogies from the older class 45, but otherwise it is the new model.  As always, I detailed the body using an airbrush and Railmatch enamel paints.  I initially used an overall body wash of paint, applied with a paintbrush, wiping most of it away, before airbrushing in some shades of faded BR blue.  After this, the weathering was applied, using sleeper grime, weathered black, frame dirt, roof dirt, brake dust and a splash of white.  

Spotted between the foliage.

The short engineers train, with a GWR Mink and Python, with a SR CCT, all in olive green!

The locomotive from ebay was not very well run in and it took a little bit of cajoling to get it running properly.  However, it is all moving fine now and earlier today I used it with the recently finished engineers wagons in a short formation.  

A short video of the Class 45 heading out of Charlton and onto Barnstaple Junction.

In other news, I have decided I am going to sell the Charlton layout.  It is definitely time for a new project -  so if anyone is interested please drop me a message here. 

Sunday, 10 January 2021

GWR Python wagon in the engineers train

A happy new year one and all!  With all the seasonal festivities over, I have managed to find some time to crack on with some modelling.  This week I put the final coats of varnish on a GWR Python wagon, in service with the engineers dept.  It really is a bit of a work of fiction, like the recently finished GWR Mink wagon.  However, a little peruse of various internet websites shows some use of GWR trucks in the engineers fleet well into the 1970s/1980s and that is close enough for me.

Finished GWR Python wagon in BR engineering olive.

The model was painted with Railmatch enamels via an airbrush, and finished with Modelmaster decals.  It carries 3 link couplings, as per all my stock.  Whilst I love the Parkside range of kits, I found this model to be a bit of a stinker to build.  Whilst many of the Parkside kits literally fall together, I found this one trick to get square.  The wheels are a bit tight, it runs ok but not brilliantly.  However, it does add some further variety into the engineers train I am currently building, with a Mk1 in dept olive ready for its final coats of varnish over the coming days.  Today I am also putting my class 45 back together and adding the DCC sound chip and speaker.  So hopefully by the end of today I will have the class 45 operational again.  I also managed to get the baseboard built for the first layout on the new station, so all in all some progress his week!  

Sunday, 27 December 2020

Dapol class 122 woes and an xmas running session

I hope everyone had a fantastic xmas and is continuing to enjoy some festive cheer.  The new raft of covid measures meant our xmas was even less social than we planned it to be.  Luckily, I have a fantastic partner, so we still had an amazing time.  On the regulatory 3 hrs on xmas day, my parents popped over for lunch.  My dad has started to build an 0 gauge layout and wanted to have a go with a DCC controller, so I set up Charlton ready to have a beer and run some trains.  I got some trains ready to go and put my Dapol class 122 on the track, turned on the sound chip and pressed the throttle.  The motor turned away but the unit would only crawl.  This was very strange, as I have only run the class 122 at a few exhibitions, so I was surprised it had given up the ghost.  Some googling found out that the Dapol class 121/122 have a raft of well known motor problems.  I managed to take the unit apart, damaged a few detailing pieces and eventually I sorted out the issues.

The Dapol class 122 chassis with one drive shaft removed (left).

The small drive head (top - black), had come loose from the drive shaft.  I super glued the head to both ends of the drive shaft before reassembly.

Both of the motor drive shafts have a head that had come loose, meaning the drive shaft turned but it would not turn the gears.  A lot of people on RMweb removed one of the drive shafts, so the motor only drives one set of wheels.  I followed this fix, removing one drive shaft completely, whilst super gluing the drive head onto both ends of the other drive shaft, before refitting it.  It is a very fiddly job to do, as the drive shafts are beneath the PCB board.  After this experience and seeing that many other modellers have suffered the same issue, I am not buying a Dapol locomotive again.  This is a personal blog and it is only my opinion, but I am really furious that a train that has seen very little running suddenly gives up, due to poor production quality.  The (upcoming) story of the Hornby class 50 is a similar tale.  These trains are not cheap, especially when sound fitting the locomotives and it is infuriating after all that detailing, for the train to be not able to run due to design faults.

Class 37 c. 1975 on an evening passenger service.

Anyhow, having sorted out the problems on the class 122 (it was spread over 2 days, which included a lot of blaspheming!) I spent some time running some trains this evening.  It was great fun and I caught some evening videos of trains running with the lights on.  Other project continue to make good progress, with the class 45 just needing putting back together (a job for tomorrow) with the sound chip added and the python wagon only needs one more coat of varnish.  All in all plenty of progress and all of the new baseboards for a roundy roundy layout are ordered!  Bring on the spring!!

Class 122 on an evening passenger turn.

A class 37 bringing in the last train of the day....

.....before setting back off to Barnstaple junction.

Thursday, 24 December 2020

A merry xmas one and all

I am signing off the blog until xmas.  I hope everyone has a great Christmas and has some time off over the festive break.  I have made a lot of progress on a number of projects this week and hope to finish some of these off over the next few weeks, so hopefully some updates soon.  All the baseboards have been ordered for the new layout - so I am excited to start a new layout in the new year.  Until then...Happy Christmas one and all!