Sunday, 14 June 2020

Four Road Engine shed - Part 1

OK so here goes.

There are a lot of pieces, hence why I've chosen to build this kit after completing the Coaling Stage and Sand House. This will probably take me a few weeks as I have other projects on the go and I don't want to rush this build.

The first task was to construct the ends and sides. Hopefully, I've understood the construction correctly as I've modified the ends so the sides fit correctly with the castellations.

End as-built following the instructions
Modified end so castellation between ends and side will fit correctly
Inside view of one of end showing strengthing applied to the pillars
Side castellation showing rebate that I had to allow for on the ends
The internal view of both sides with pillars in place
The next stage in the instructions is to join the ends and sides to create the overall structure. But as I did for the Coaling Stage, I think it will be easier to paint the internal walls before gluing them together. So far I'm really enjoying this build.

Sunday, 7 June 2020

Sand House

Before I started on the four road Engine Shed, which is the largest building for this project, I thought I'd build the small Sand House. On paper, this looked to be a simple building to construct. Unfortunately, it turned out to be a little troublesome.

Firstly when checking the parts over and how they fitted together I found I couldn't make much sense of how the veneered ends fitted. Placing the veneers over the ends so the window apertures fell in the correct place left a large gap at the bottom.

Within the kit parts, there were a couple of end louvre windows so I decided to remove the existing louvre bars in the end walls and make the veneer ends fit correctly. The separate louvre frames were then installed in both end walls.

If the joints in the veneer below the louvre window are not disguised once painted, the recovery will be installing a lintel and sill.

Then there was the problem with one of the side louvre windows, one fits the precut aperture correctly the other lourve is too small.

So should I fit the lintel in line with the left-hand window which will show the missing louvre bars (as in the picture above) or,

should I install the lintel to reduce the size of the window and match the size of the louvre frame?

As far as the small side louvre frame I decided to go with the first option but adding a filler to try and signify a repair.

I feel the adaption on the small louvre frame has masked the problem well.

So that's the easy building completed, well, apart from painting, it's now onto the big one, the four road engine shed.

Sunday, 10 May 2020

GWR Coaling Stage

I think I've made my decision on the next project...

Ever since I designed the first Polbrock Engine Shed track plan, which was heavily influenced by plans in E. Lyons 'An Historical Survey of Great Western Engine Sheds 1947', the desire to build an engine shed layout has remained. The main barrier was always having enough P4 locomotives to populate the layout and so justify building one. Well, fortune has blessed me with acquiring a few BR(WR) Locomotives from another P4 modeller who has decided to cut back on his collection. These locos along with a few buildings purchased a couple of years ago mean this project is now possible.

When drawing the plan featured in my previous blog, I discovered that the length of the incline up to the coaling stage, along with the building itself  (and the track extension beyond), had a big effect on the space required. To finalise the layout I needed to know the track height at the coaling stage. I could then work out what would look correct and be feasible for a loco to propel four coal wagons up the incline. So I made a start on the coaling stage kit.

Coaling Stage structure
This is the Timber Tracks kit which I believe is based on the one at Didcot. So far, it is going together extremely well. The only deviation I've made from the very comprehensive instructions is not gluing the internal wall sections into place before painting them. Photos I've seen of the internal walls of most of these coaling stages show white walls but with a band of black around the bottom. When offering the internal wall veneer sections into place I thought it would make it difficult to paint them once installed.

First attempt
I first tried painting the walls white but as can be seen in the above on the right, this did not look very convincing. The next thought was to paint the bricks first with a brick-ish colour before painting over with white. The result of this test is the top left in the above. This seemed a better idea as it gave some depth of colour to the wall.

Stage 2
I next choose what I thought would be suitable colours. I use Vallejo Model Colour (acrylic paints for my wargaming miniatures) so these were the first I turned to. I chose: Cavalry Brown, Red Leather, Flat Brown, Desert Yellow, and Dark Flesh. These were individually dry brushed over the brick structure in a random fashion to try to give a varied colour base. A little more focus will be required when working on the external walls but think the initial result is acceptable as an undercoat for the whitewashed internal walls.

Stages 3 & 4
The top wall in the above photo is stage 3 before a black wash is applied. Though I'm not wholly satisfied with the lower wall (stage 4) after applying a black wash, I think it is a fairly acceptable result, especially as it will be difficult to see once the coaling stage is complete and installed on a layout.

One minor amendment/addition I've made is the inclusion of what I think is a water pipe in the centre of the building. Now the building is complete I'm not sure this addition has been worthwhile, but hey-ho...
Coal tubs need completing...
A few weeks have passed since I started writing this post, and as my proofreader and I have been preoccupied with our new foster placement, progress has slowed on this build. That said the below pictures show its current state.

It still needs the platform on the side of the water tank along with its access ladder. As these items seem fragile I'll not be installing them until the building is fixed on a layout. Painting of the building will take place once the Sand House and Engine Shed are built so that they all get similar treatments.

Sunday, 5 April 2020

Deciding on the next project

As previously mentioned, my Man Cave has been reduced in size, so Grogley Junction is now a non starter. For the past year I've been musing over what will replace it and I now have five possible ideas which are:
  1. GWR Branch Line Terminus - one that I've written about in a couple of 'An Itch that might need scratching' posts.
  2. Boscarne Junction - I've thought many times about this junction as a project and it was in the frame as the basis for my first P4 project.
  3. Bodmin General - one station that in my opinion is the ideal GWR Branch Line Terminus and one that I've pondered building for many years.
  4. Bodmin Road - a station that, many years ago, was used as the basis for the first layout the Mablethorpe and District Model Railway Club built. This then gave me my continued interest in the railways in Cornwall and especially around Bodmin.
  5. An Engine Shed - It's always been a dream to be able to construct a layout based on an Engine Shed.
Below are the five plans that I've drawn to evaluate each proposal.

GWR Branch Line Terminus (Bigbury Bay)
Though I've posted a number of thoughts on this one, I've never been fully happy with the track plan. I have plenty of rolling stock (and this is certainly a possibility) but not sure if I'd be totally happy with the result or feel I'd achieved enough when completed.

Boscarne Junction
Oh yes this is a definite possibility as it would be the ideal project to follow on from Tredethy Wharf. I have numerous photos of the junction including many of my own of the bridges from the river level. I'd have no excuse not to produce a convincing model. I've applied a certain amount of compression to the track plan, even so, there are a couple of anomalies that I'll have to live with. The first is I've had to curve the Bodmin North line to the right not left (away from the Bodim General Line as in the real junction) but still feel it will convey the correct feel of the junction. The second is that to have a convincing length of sidings I'd have to operate the layout with the Man Cave door open. Though the board between the Level Crossing and fiddle yard could be excluded for operation at home.


Bodmin General
Well this was an early front runner but with every man and his dog building a model of Bodmin General, along with my thoughts that I'd struggle with not meeting the standards that North London Groups achieved with their model, it has slipped down the list.

Bodmin Road
Bodmin Road became a distinct possibility after I acquired a number of P4 locomotives from a modeller who was reducing his collection. After drawing numerous plans I think I have decided that is is not really practical due to not having enough space in the fiddle yards and also access to the Up fiddle yard. Just cannot make it work in the space available... Shame.

GWR Engine Shed
Finally we have my proposed Engine Shed. This would fulfill a long-held ambition, one that I never thought I would be able to contemplate until a couple of years ago with the acquisition of a number of Western Region P4 Locomotives. My outline thoughts for this project are (i) to be based on a GWR Engine Shed; (ii) it has to be scenically based and not just a flat board with mainly track; (iii) It must have some other interest to justify its location and not just be a diorama to display a collection of locomotives. The above is loosely based on Leamington Engine Shed. I've incorporated four Carriage sidings that would be operated in conjunction with loco movements along with three coal wagon sidings. The idea is the landscape would slope up from the river to the back.  The carriage siding would be lower than the Engine shed and yard, then the Coal Wagon sidings being slightly higher still.

My current thoughts are it is a close thing between Boscarne Junction and the Engine Shed.

So which one is it to be?

Sunday, 29 March 2020

Little people

A good friend, and a fellow Tredethy Wharf operator, offered to paint a few figures for my Gricer Train. I gratefully posted half a dozen Dart Casting figures off to him.

I've got to admit that I was suitably embarrassed in the speed these figures were returned. Within a couple of weeks they promptly appeared in our post box. He even fashioned a camera on the young woman to make the figure more appropriate.

I've not put paint on a brush for many months and to have these returned so quickly was an excellent kick up the proverbial. Along with little people for the Gricer, I also require a number of footplate figures along with guards. Out came the tray, and figure painting has commenced...

With all that is going on currently with the COVID-19 lockdown, the distractions of playing golf has been removed. I now have no excuse not to get more figures painted.

Sunday, 2 February 2020

Brake Vans - A Gricer train (1)

Another task I need to address is a Brake Van Special to run on Tredethy Wharf. Roger Cox has been more than generous in allowing me to borrow his Gricer train for a number of exhibitions. Even though I'm extremely grateful to him, I think it's about time I created one myself. So, I've purchased a number of figures which need painting to populate the brake vans. As far as brake vans are concerned, only a Southern Railway Queen Mary has been finished and populated with figures. I have seen a photo of a Queen Mary brake van at Wadebridge - but cannot recall exactly where? I have also come across the photo below of a Queen Mary at Dunmere.

Don't know if it would have been a candidate for a Gricer train, though surely it could have been used at some point.

On the Bachmann model above I've used MJT components for the bogies and side frames, this combination has produced a very free running and stable van.

The two Brake Vans above have been in a part converted/upgraded state for over 12 months, just need to get some mojo back to get them completed.

Only require 3 or 4 more Brake Vans and 30 or so painted figures... 

Friday, 24 January 2020

A Beattie Well Tank (Part 1)

Two years ago a member of the local Scalefour group took on the challenge of building a chassis for a Perseverance kit of a Beattie Well Tank for me. I collected it around March last year but unfortunately it was pointed out that the boiler was not a good fit between the splashers. Even though I am now retired, this problem, along with last year's distractions of house extension building work; holidays to Vietnam and Sweden; short caravan breaks in the UK; being seduced into playing more golf (resulting in winning a few competitions); and taking Tredethy Wharf to three shows - I've not progressed the kit any further. Oh the excuses, excuses and more excuses - or was it just plain procrastination? This year I think it has to be a priority that I make progress on this Perseverance kit to get it running on Tredethy Wharf.

Current state of play
The above photo shows the boiler is not fixed in place as there is still a gap between the boiler and splashers. Not knowing which part of the kit needs correcting has possibly been the main reason why I've not continued the build.

Then Eureka! While going through back copies of magazines, I found a drawing of a Beattie Well Tank in a 1985 Railway Modeller drawn by Ian Beattie. The wheel base measurements were accurate which made me believe that the drawing had been reproduced correctly and in proportion. Assuming the boiler had been drawn correctly, it indicated that the kits boiler is 0.1mm under size. I don't think I can complain too much about that, therefore, I can fit the boiler and work on the splashers to fill the gap. At last I'll be able to 'persevere' (pun intended) with this kit and move the build on...