Recently I’ve been helping out Simon George with his O gauge Heaton Lodge project, click the link for a real time stroll down its frontage. This week the final preparations and installation of the layout at Wakefield Market Hall has been taking place.
Over the past two days myself and Tim Horn have been assembling the lighting rig and fittings the backscene to the layout.
It’s fair to say it’s ‘big’, it took three articulated trucks to deliver it. In true journo style to emphasise the scale of the model, it’s the length of seven London busses, if you stood it on its end it’d be taller than Nelsons column, and to emphasise it’s jumbo dimensions, it’s length is the same as the wingspan of a Boeing 747…
All the more remarkable is it’s primarily the work of one person, Simon George. The layout is having its first public outing in December, from the 4th to the 19th inclusive.
If there’s something that slows a project down for me it’s wiring up a layout. Pretty much everything else I can crack on with, but this bit, it’s a real chore even for a simple three point layout. The way I worked on this one, Shelfie3, was a little different. I set up the track and just played trains until the design ‘clicked’ and I was happy with it.
I then transferred it to the layout for real, fixing most of the track, in particular the baseboard join which has meant cutting one point in half. Once the track was down ive then wired it up with my initial thought on feeds and isolating sections to start.
It’s taken longer than usual to define the right points for the sections, so progress has been a bit stop/start, not to mention a significant amount of structural work on the mancave proper! The core operations are two car DMU’s, a shuttle service from a truncated through station set between 1968 and 1980. This give me the opportunity to run ‘tail traffic’ on a few of the services. There’s also a couple of reversing moves with parcels stock and an oil train. The ‘problem’ is the layout is configured to run as DC/DCC and these sorts of movements definitely favour DCC operations. However for DC work I have to take into account the sections to cover an 08, up to a two car DMU. This also means working the platform length out too. Within the moves there’s a loco and parcels vans, as well as an occasional three car DMU.
The layout is designed to be relatively compact with an 11ft length footprint, and a sector plate fiddleyard. This too for DC operations required a rotating selection switch and isolating sections. With help from one of the technicians at work, the fiddleyard wiring was quite straightforward and completed quickly.
Last week a good friend dropped in and that has really helped with pushing this forward. Most of the time was spent working out the scenic side, whilst doing that we ‘played trains’ for a bit. In the youtube clip above the temporary wiring and switches worked well, but brought home that the wiring needs completion. So this weekend it’s been out with the crayons and colouring in what goes where and why. The wire and connectors are in stock, so they ts time to pull the trigger, and get the wiring in place.
Then I can switch all the sections on and run it in DCC….
The first public image of the CAD’s for the 4mm scale class 104 DMU have been released today. With several detail differences to be produced this is good to see progress on this project which has suffered delays due to the pandemic.
Back in the midsts of time I always wanted a complete set of British Rail ‘Standards’. Don’t know why, but I set about the task Hunter gatherer stylee, and apart from the WD 2-10-0, I ended up with all the available types as kits. Which of course ended up on the mancave maturing shelf gathering dust. We all know how that story ends up, Acme Train Co., brings out a decent RTR model of the type and the kit continues to ‘mature’ on the shelf. Guilty as charged…
One of the first really good takes on the ‘Standard’ types in OO was Bachmann’s WD 2-8-0. Accurate, well made, and reliable. In short everything you’d want from a RTR model. I indulged in one early on, subsequently replaced the maturing kit shelf queen’s with RTR examples. I make no apologies for this, the RTR versions give me a quick fix, and a consistent one in terms of appearance.
The 9F’s are a case in point. I was an early adopter of the Model Loco range in the late 80’s. I bought the 9F rather than modifying another Hornby version, (I’d done several previously). They of course went straight to shelf, rather than DVD, and moved on when the unrealistic prospect of making them dawned due to time/life constraints. SABLE (Stash Aquired Beyond Life Expectancy), was rearing it’s head even then. The Bachmann 9F however is still a firm favourite! They are excellent in their own right, but stand as a good basis for further work.
I currently have an ex ‘Cadbury’s’ version underway, see above. Why Cadbury’s? Well an early weathered version suffered excess browning in the days of early factory weathered RTR, see picture courtesy of Hattons below.
So much so, this (and a good few others) looked like they had been dipped in milk chocolate! This is a slow burner, replacement pony and tender wheelsets to come and a makeover including repaint and fine detailing to finish.
So what of the WD 2-10-0 and the bucketlist? It’s one of those locomotives that just captures my imagination, much like it’s smaller sibling, I’ve no use for it apart from I like them. Due to the small numbers of the prototype and relatively limited sphere of operations, these are unlikely to be a candidate for a RTR model so the only game in town is this DJH kit.
This one came via Tony Wright dealing with an estate sale. Offered as a very poor runner at a fair price, it was an easy choice to make, and I’m very happy with it. Now back in the mancave I’ve been able to to take an initial look at it to assess what needs to be altered. Overall the build quality is good, and the tender immediately stood out as ‘odd’.
Basically the chassis sides are back to front. Some prodding and disassembly indicated a partial glue assembly, and this will be a relatively easy fix. The locomotive body assembly is pretty good and I doubt much work will be needed. Next the main chassis, this is where most work is needed. It’s built as per instructions. There’s rigid connecting rods, so little lateral play. Romford drivers are used with centre and leading axle unflanged. The motor works well in reverse but in forward motion the armature bounces within the motor frame. In due course I think it’s going to be a chassis rebuild, with a new motor and gearbox combination. Wheelsets will be replaced with either Gibson’s or Markits, both of whom make the correct wheels.
It’s not a high priority project, but one that I think will be interesting. It’ll be a series of issues to resolve, and if it can stand toe to toe with Bachmann’s 2-8-0 above, (a 2009 image from Albion Yard), then I’ll be well pleased.
Updates to follow in due course. At the moment, obvs, it’s ‘maturing’, but the tick is on the bucketlist!
Today has been a ‘down day’, a short gap between work cycles, and a day off from Viking Challenge preparation, I thought I’d ring the changes by breaking out some other plastic. Like many in the hobby I started out with the pocket money Airfix/Frog/Revell kits and an excellent introduction to this type of building craft they were.
Over the years the plastic kit hobby has changed with more details and after market components, and new techniques, much as the rail hobby has too. Airfix, like Hornby, had a bit of a fallow period in the not too distant past, but of late they’re producing some really nice kits. The De Havilland Mosquito above is one such model, a 2021 release it captures the overall appearance well. Certainly well enough for me to simply enjoy nailing it together straight out of the box.
The design and fit of the components is superb, as are the instructions. There’s a very interesting video here featuring the designer and his thoughts on how the kit was ‘put together’ design and build wise.
So what will I get from this apart from a dust collector? Well I’ll be trying a new airbrush, I also want to try some new masking techniques, and I want a project that has a start, and definitive finish. So far, so good!