Monday Motivation, Lance Mindheim

14th Avenue HO Scale by Lance Mindheim

The image above is a photograph from an iPhone of an HO switching layout by Lance Mindheim . It’s an image of nothing in particular, and that for me makes it all the more noteworthy and inspiring, motivational etc etc! It’s the sort of thing we might see the world over, a simple road crossing and a set of tracks into an industrial area, and with no train visible we’d pass it by without a second glance, carrying on to the hardware supplier or car mechanic that brought us into this area of town. Meh!

Where this really ‘pops’ for me though is Lance’s ability to capture ‘nothing to see here’ so well. Now realising it’s a model, it makes us look at it with fresh eyes, asking how is this a model? In the link above Lance talks a little about the image and thoughts behind it so I won’t throw any spoilers in here, but please do take the time to read it!

The big thing for me is it ooze’s atmosphere, I’ve seen similar locations in the States and Canada, once very closely (arguably too closely), from a Z28 at high speed in the early hours on opposite lock. Yes Patches, I’m looking at you!, but we can immediately place ourselves there. You can easily imagine the heat and perhaps the smells, a nearby industry with foodstuffs or engineering and one or two crickets chirping away in the long grass.

This image just ‘gets’ me. The simplicity of the scene, it’s just ordinary, but the subtle levels of modelling and observational complexity to successfully achieve it, are extraordinary. That’s my inspiration this week, nothing much at all!

Posted in accurascale, america, americana, Bachmann, blogger, Branch Line, Cameo layout, canada, DC, DCC, dcc sound, finescale, free-mo, fremo, Hattons, heljan, HO, ho scale, hobbies, Hobby, Industrial, Inspiration, iphoneography, Layout, life, model, model photography, Model Railroad, Model Railway, Modelling, monday motivation, motivation monday, n gauge, Narrow Gauge, O Gauge, o scale, OO, OO Gauge, railroad, railway, realism, scale modelling, skill, toy train, usa | Leave a comment

Motivation Monday, Showtime!

Heaton Lodge Junction Exhibition Bath & West Show Grounds

No one needs me to remind or tell them of the impact of Covid on the exhibition scene over the past two years, suffice to say it’s had a significant detrimental impact on the ability to run and attend shows of all sizes.

Heaton Lodge Build

This weekend I’ve been helping out as a ‘runner/roadie’ on Heaton Lodge on a three day show. I arrived Wednesday to assist in the build of the layout by a team of five, working roughly 08:00 to about 18:00 each day. This is only the second exhibition the layout has done, but with much shorter build/break down windows than we had at Wakefield. It was also an ‘away’ fixture by about 4.5hrs/230 miles from base so key in getting everything there.

Heaton Lodge Junction

Not only does it take time to build the layout, there’s all the stock to put on too, and using three links, manually couple up as well. The show certainly had a good number of visitors through and it was good to see both friends from the trade and the hobby generally.

Heaton Lodge Junction O Gauge

I often refer readers to the blog roll attached to this page, where there are other writers whose work is of interest, this weekend at the show I had the pleasure of meeting Ian Holmes from the USA. Ian’s blog is one I read regularly it was one I picked up on in the early days of this blogging malarkey and it was a genuine pleasure to meet him and his wife, whom had literally just flown in that morning.

Oldshaw EM Gauge

The show had a small number of layouts in addition to Heaton Lodge, and all were of excellent quality Bournemouth West, Wimborne, Oldshaw (above) and Oldham King Street, (below) providing real inspiration, as all of them ticked boxes for me, Oldshaw and Oldham in particular.

Oldham King Street

Well that’s enough from me this morning, I’ve got to go and help with the continued break down of Heaton Lodge to get it on two articulated (Semi’s for our colonial friends) and a 7.5 tonner by this afternoon.

Oldham King Street

More pictures and thoughts to follow, this show provided a real buzz and genuine inspiration for me.

Posted in accurascale, Bachmann, blog, blogger, British Rail, Cameo, Cameo layout, dapol, DC, DCC, dcc sound, DMU, Eighties, EM, Exhibition, finescale, Heaton Lodge, heljan, HO, hobbies, Hornby, Inspiration, Layout, mancave, model, model photography, Model Railroad, Model Railway, Modelling, monday motivation, motivation monday, n gauge, national train show, O Gauge, o scale, OO, OO Gauge, peco, Railway Modeller, Rapido Trains, realism, scale, scale modelling, seventies, shelfie, shelfie3, toy train, train set, Uncategorized, usa | Leave a comment

Peco Bullhead Crossings and Slips

Peco SL-U1194 Long Crossing

At Heaton Lodge’s Bath and West exhibition today, I had the opportunity to get a quick look some production samples of the crossing, and slip points on Peco’s trade exhibition stand.

Peco SL-U1194 Long Crossing
Peco SL-U1194 Long Crossing

The crossings and slips utilise the same ‘Unifrog’ design as the large radius bullhead points. A quick chat with the Peco staff indicates that if you’re familiar with the Unifrog wiring system, the slips and crossing electrical configuration will be the same.

Peco SL-U1190 Double Slip
Peco SL-U1190 Double Slip
Peco SL-U1190 Double Slip

The quality of the crossing and slips looks excellent, I only had a brief opportunity to look them over. All three pieces of trackwork are uniform rather than handed, and match existing Peco Streamline geometry.

Peco SL-U1180 Single Slip
Peco SL-U1180 Single Slip
Peco SL-U1180 Single Slip

As can be seen these are production samples. Manufacturing is currently taking place, and delivery is imminent. No prices are announced as yet (I asked obvs), but due to hand assembly it’s reasonable to assume they’ll be more expensive than current Code100 and Code75 slips.

Peco Medium Radius
Left Hand Bullhead Point EP
Peco Medium Radius
Right Hand Bullhead Point EP

Also on display were examples of engineering prototypes of the medium radius points. These are still work in progress with no release date or prices as yet.

Peco Medium Radius Bullhead Point

However I think it’s likely they will be a similar price to the existing large radius points. These appear to be tooling shots rather than 3D prints indicating good progress on them and hopefully a release not long after the crossing and slips.

Posted in accurascale, Bachmann, British Rail, Cameo layout, dapol, DC, DCC, Hattons, heljan, HO, hobbies, Hobby, Hornby, Layout, model, model rail, Model Railroad, Model Railway, Modelling, OO, OO Gauge, peco, product news, railroad, railway, realism, scale, scale modelling, shelfie, shelfie3, track, train set, train show, Uncategorized, unifrog | 2 Comments

Asking For a Friend

Dapol O Gauge Class 08

Any of you readers fancy a start in O gauge? A friend has for sale two of these Dapol 08’s, as new, unused. They were originally part of a plan for a small O gauge layout, and,as we all experience, plans sometimes have to change.

A few years back the same thing happened with me and I too had got an 08 for trials. There’s images on this page which show how these are put together. There’s plenty of space for adding DCC and sound, and Railway Modeller’s Callum Willcox has fitted the Hornby TTS 08 sound decoder into one for an economic conversion.

Dapol O Gauge class 08

If these are of interest please get in touch, they’re priced at £165 each plus P&p, a deal might be available for the pair. Whilst clearing the man cave here these two OO locomotives below are still available from myself ;

Bachmann class 24/1 32-443

The class 24 is as new, DC, £125 inc uk P&p

Dapol Western D1003B

The Western is DC, and priced at £135 inc Uk p&p. Both of the locomotives have only been test run or used in photo shoots. Please contact me via the blog or the Albion yard Facebook page.

Posted in Bachmann, blog, British Rail, Cameo, Cameo layout, dapol, DC, DCC, dcc sound, Exhibition, heljan, HO, hobbies, Hobby, Hornby, Layout, life, man cave, man-cave, mancave, model, Model Railroad, Model Railway, Modelling, n gauge, O Gauge, o scale, OO, OO Gauge, peco, railroad, railway, Railway Modeller, scale, scale modelling, toy train, Toy trains, train set, Western Region | Leave a comment

Transformation Tuesday, Paint

Shelfie 3 Track Painting

It’s only a week since I completed Shelfie3’s wiring, and noted that that point in time was likely to be a spur onwards in the project. As I expected it did just that. The next notable step has been painting the track on the scenic part of the layout.

Peco Unifrog Bullhead Points SL-U1188 SL-U1189

Above is the starting point, or points, (I’m here all week), Peco Code 75 bullhead track. Nothing ground breaking here, an MDF track base with 1/16th thick cork underlay. The track has been glued directly to the cork using PVA adhesive. There is a slight disadvantage with this in that there is an audible increase in the sound transfer from the track, it is what it is though, and I accept that as part of the process. Shelfie 1 Shelfie 2 and Shelfie 4 all use woodland scenics underlay to good acoustic benefit.

Peco Bullhead Points

The points are Peco SL-U1188 and SL-U1189 unifrog type with actuation including frog switching via Tortoise switch motors. This means there’s far less reliance on the physical point blades to conduct electrical power. If you’re using a ‘traditional’ insulated type of frog then you ideally need to mask the contact points of the blades and stock rails before painting.

Railhead cleaning

Both paints here are acrylic based, so there’s no issue with incompatibility with the track. Spraying from about 30cm or 1ft in old money, I build up a couple of layers by varying the spray patterns. As soon as the spraying is finished I start working on the rail head to clean it. This needs doing quickly, these paints adhere very well so it makes sense to clean the railheads whilst the paint is still soft. I use the Peco rail cleaner as my first stage of paint removal.

Halfords Camouflage Brown

Once happy with the initial grey ‘undercoat’ I add the camouflage brown using the same method. The varying spray pattern gives a good natural look rather than a solid block colour.

Peco PL-41 Rail Cleaner

Again it’s immediately back into the rail head cleaning, whilst the paint is drying. There’s a lot of wibble talked about track cleaning, chemicals to use/not use and the easy answer is use what works for you. I’ve used these rail cleaners since I was a kid and never had a problem with them. I also use IPA, White Spirit, Meths, MEK, Plasweld, Emery papers and cellulose thinners with no problems, across all the popular scales and gauges. The benefit of this Peco cleaner is that you can make grooves in it. This allows you to clean not only the top of the rails but the shoulders as well as these also are part of the electrical conductivity. As you can see in the image above you can also get clearance from check rails, so you don’t need to repaint them after track cleaning.

Track Cleaning

So the final element before testing is a clean of the rail head using an appropriate ‘solvent’, here I’m using Revell Painta Clean on a Q-tip, and you can see the stripe as is picks up residual rail cleaner debris and paint.

Shelfie 3 Track Test

So here’s the final results. Tested on DC with two RTR short rigid wheelbase locomotives. I had one or two areas that needed a bit of additional cleaning, but nothing unexpected. Subsequently I often clean the rail heads before running as an insurance policy thus will last a week or so before I’ll start track detailing and ballasting.

Bachmann DCC Sound Class 20

Experience tells me that having done the initial clean thoroughly, I’m unlikely to have any conductivity issues caused by painting. A quick swap of controller to an NCE power cab and the layout runs with no problem on DCC. Next step is to determine signalling choices and details such as point rodding location and it’s actuation before getting the ballasting done.

Or, I could write a fifteen minute hero on my track cleaning regimen, and see how much wibbling that sets off..

Posted in accurascale, Bachmann, baseboards, Branch Line, British Rail, Cameo, Cameo layout, DC, DCC, DMU, finescale, Hattons, HO, hobbies, Hobby, Hornby, Inspiration, Layout, man-cave, mancave, model, model photography, Model Railroad, Model Railway, Modelling, n gauge, Narrow Gauge, O Gauge, o scale, OO, OO Gauge, paint, peco, railroad, railway, Rapido Trains, realism, scale, scale modelling, shelfie, shelfie3, toy train, track, train set, transformation tuesday, tuesday transformation, Uncategorized, video, youtube | Leave a comment

Motivation Monday, Modelling Mosaic

It’s a pleasant Monday morning here, the suns out, it’s warm and I’m fortunate enough to be sitting outside and planning my next Shelfie 3 moves. This weekend just gone I was sitting at a mosaic table and chairs, the top made from many many glass sections, the workmanship and endeavour required to make it immediately struck a chord with both the artist and modeller in me.


It’s times like this I often think about how we as modellers join the dots, and using a wide range of material bring them together to make an ‘image’, our own form of mosaic. If we take the picture above, the lighting is from commercial cabinet lights, baseboard is a mix of Tim Horn picture frame boards, DIY store MDF, and timber supplies pine strip wood. The trees are plastic armatures, plugged into building insulation foam, the track Peco Bullhead, Signals from Ratio, and the DMU from Bachmann

Shelfie3 Mosaic

Much as a traditional artist does with a mosaic of bringing together similar or different materials to make the image, we as modellers do the same thing. In the image above I’ve added more components, playing around and moving them, adding, subtracting pieces until the picture falls into place. I already have my framework of the image, the baseboards and physical dimensions, footprint, height and depth. I too have determined what the finished ‘piece’ will represent, but not necessarily how it will look in the final format. Much the same with Shelfie 4, Maple River illustrated below, the picture frame and concept is established, it’s now the ‘mind on’ and ‘hands on’ part of production.

Shelfie4 Maple River

Often people ask is our hobby an art form, I’ve always been of the opinion that it is. Art is sometimes viewed one dimensionally, that piece is just a drawing, painting or sculpture using one medium. But of course there’s other formats, installation immediately coming to the fore.

Then for us who exhibit, we take our artwork to exhibition, to show our contemporaries, and the general public our endeavours, sometimes to critical acclaim, sometimes to failure if the layout stops working for example. It’s all part of our journey.

Shelfie 1

Perhaps next time the question crops up, the answer is yes the hobby is an art. A layout can be argued to be a three dimensional mosaic, be it a line wolf modellers effort or a collaborative team.

So, looking at a coffee table. Odd isn’t it where our inspiration can come from?

Posted in accurascale, Art, art reference, artist, Bachmann, Cameo, Cameo layout, DC, DCC, Exhibition, finescale, Hattons, Heaton Lodge, heljan, HO, hobbies, Hobby, Hornby, Inspiration, journey, Layout, LED, LED Lighting, life, man-cave, mancave, media, model, model photography, Model Railroad, Model Railway, Modelling, monday motivation, mosaic, motivation monday, n gauge, Narrow Gauge, national train show, nmra, O Gauge, o scale, OO, OO Gauge, peco, railroad, railway, realism, scale, scale modelling, shelfie, shelfie1, shelfie2, shelfie3, shelfie4, skill, skillset, toy train, train show, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

MRJ 288 and a Craftsman

Not a bad thing to come home to after a hard day at the office, (stop laughing at the back). MRJ number 288 edited by Jerry Clifford.

A nice issue this one, with a broad range of subject matter, ^^see above ^^. The cover shows the late Keith Armes 2mm finescale model of Chipping Norton’s Bliss Tweed Mill. Seeing it brings back memories of seeing it at the MRJ exhibition at Central Hall in 1990, and wondering how on earth was that thirty years ago?

Fighting for space through the letterbox with MRJ is April 2022’s Railroad Model Craftsman, my current analog preference for North American outline modelling. If you’ve not seen one, it’s worth trying. Most times a good selection of varied material, both era and prototype is covered, and their current layout project is a shelf layout, naturally capturing my attention.

Anyhow wibbling on about what I’ve got to read, isn’t going to get it read, so that’s what I’m going to do!

Posted in Bachmann, blogging, British Rail, Cameo, Cameo layout, canadian national, canadian pacific, DC, DCC, dcc sound, free-mo, heljan, HO, hobbies, Hobby, Hornby, Inspiration, Kalmbach, Layout, magazine, man-cave, media, model, Model Railroad, Model Railway, Model Railway Journal, Modelling, n gauge, Narrow Gauge, O Gauge, o scale, OO, OO Gauge, peco, railroad model craftsman, Railway Modeller, reading, review, scale modelling, shelfie, toy train, Uncategorized, usa | Leave a comment

Transformation Tuesday, Relax…

Shelfie 3

Well what’s the transformation then? Beer? nope, no change there, DMU?, nope, no change, a shelf layout?, nope, still no change.

The reason for popping the top off this cool one, is the transformation in operating this layout, Shelfie 3. Put simply, it now works as it should. Some readers may remember this Shelfie 3 time lapse, filmed a while ago showing the sort of traffic flow the layout will have. Of note in the film is (as my mate Mr Chapman notes), the Rick Wakemanesque piano playing style of switching DC isolation sections.

Shelfie 3

Well as of today the final wiring fix has been completed, hence the cold one. To be honest it’s not the most complex arrangement, three turnouts, and seven isolating sections. However, wiring and me are an oil/water thing they just don’t mix, so having all the switchgear and wiring loom all tidy and functional from a single panel is for me a real step forward.

Shelfie 3 Traverser

The final fix wiring is one of those ‘little wins’, as was the rotary switch wiring and build of the traverser above. The whole layout and concept is really pretty simple, but it always slows up for me with the electrical section, sometimes being quite the mojo deflator. It’s certainly taken far too long too get done, and I can get on with the good stuff like James Hilton, Chris Mears, OTCM and Geoff Forster have been writing about.

However as I close this post it occurs, theres a good deal of satisfaction just sitting here playing trains with a beer.

Or two, jus sayin….

Posted in accurascale, Bachmann, British Rail, Cameo, Cameo layout, dapol, DC, DCC, DMU, Eastern Region, Eighties, finescale, Hattons, heljan, HO, hobbies, Hobby, Hornby, Inspiration, Layout, LED Lighting, man-cave, Midland Region, Model Railroad, Model Railway, Modelling, n gauge, Narrow Gauge, O Gauge, o scale, OO, OO Gauge, peco, railroad, railway, Rapido Trains, scale modelling, shelfie, shelfie3, toy train, transformation tuesday, tuesday transformation, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

HO Indiana Shortline Wordless Wednesday

No words as such from me, but this overview from Instagram by Tim Nicholson of his Indiana based HO scale layout, is really worth spending time watching. So so much to learn from it.

Posted in america, americana, australia, Bachmann, Cameo, Cameo layout, DC, DCC, dcc sound, finescale, HO, hobbies, Hobby, Hornby, indiana, Inspiration, instagram, Kalmbach, Layout, man cave, model, model photography, Model Railroad, Model Railway, Modelling, n gauge, O Gauge, o scale, OO, OO Gauge, peco, pennsylvania, prototype, railroad, railway, realism, research, scale, scale modelling, social media, toy train, trees, usa, wordless wednesday | Leave a comment

Wordless Wednesday (or rather speechless!)

Unbelievable Jeff, unbelievable!
Posted in 2FS, 2mm, accurascale, Bachmann, British Rail, DCC, Eastern Region, finescale, Hattons, heljan, hero, HO, Hobby, Hornby, Inspiration, life, man-cave, Midland Region, model, Model Railroad, Model Railway, Modelling, n gauge, Narrow Gauge, O Gauge, o scale, OO, OO Gauge, peco, realism, scale, scale modelling, skill, toy train, Uncategorized, Western Region, wordless wednesday | 1 Comment