Monday 8 November 2021

It's all in the detail


No major projects to report on for this entry, but lots of little jobs here and there that are moving the layout forward slowly towards completion (if that is ever possible).

First off, lots of telegraph poles and power poles. Seven telegraph poles where only two pairs are identical. Based on Ratio items, chopped about to provide the correct number of arms and 'pots', plus some 0.2mm diameter wire for two 'stays' where the wire course changes direction to cross the tracks.It took a lot of pouring over fuzzy photos to triangulate the positions of the poles, and identify the number of arms and 'pots' on each. 


This last photo also shows a power line pole. The power lines disappear off in the direction of Yarmouth. This pole is made from 2mm diameter brass rod, with brass angle and wire additions and some 3D printed insulators I found on Shapeways.

The main power pole on the front of the layout includes a 3D printed transformer from N Brass Models.

Next is a rail built buffer stop for the end loading bay, based on drawings and photos in the newest edition of 'Southern Nouveau'.


Finally, building the many coal staithes along the front of the layout has started. There appear to have been three distinct areas, with separate entrances from the road, but I only know of two coal merchants operating there.

The staithes are built up from plasticard and cut up matches, with real coal on top of black foam formers. The coal scales are lovely 3D prints from Modellbahn Union. Figures from Hardies Hobies with etched shovels attached, as they would not print at this scale.



You may notice that the rolling stock is all now the types of wagons that actually appeared on the island. Largely ex-LBSCR 5 plank wagons, ex-LSWR 7 plank wagons and ex-LBSCR 8 ton vans. There is also an ex-LBSCR Road Van, ex-LBSCR Road Truck and a Royal Daylight paraffin tanker. Still more to be built though.


Sunday 18 April 2021

Three Wheels On My Wagon

Having used my imagination to create a non-descript building supplies/scrap dealership at the far end of Freshwater goods yard that I have not found photographs of, I decided the business needed a better means of transporting its wares than the old bicycle. I purchased an Autocraft white metal casting for a 1930's Reliant three wheeled van. 

This is a nice casting, but there are a couple of omissions. First, there is no interior detail, or floor. Second, are the wheels. Representing spokes in this scale is obviously not practical and the etched bicycles I use do not have them either, which is fine. However, in photos of real Reliants of this period, the ends of the rear axle, and in particular the brake drums, are plainly visible, and needed to be added. 

So, I cut out a floor from a piece of spare brass etch surround and added a chassis using the staples from the Autocraft packaging (waste not want not). A length of brass rod formed the axle and a couple of etched con rod washers were just right for the brake drums. A lump of plastic formed to represent the engine cover was glued inside the body, and another piece of plastic was glued inside the back doors for the floor to sit against. Getting the right position for the axles to sit centrally in the rear wheels took a bit of care. 


Above the floor, I added a representation of the driver's seat, and a steering wheel, using a small etched wheel from N Brass. A 12BA bolt was soldered into a hole drilled in the floor. This will be used to glue the vehicle to the layout.

Now it was ready for painting. The layout is very green at the moment, so I wanted to add a splash of colour. It may not be a prototypical colour, but I went for yellow. The roof and mudguards seem to be always painted black on these. I printed my own transfers, which is simple for black lettering on transparent film. Before wetting them, I varnished them using Johnsons/Pledge Multi-Surface Polish (used to be called Kleer) which is actually a cheap way of buying acrylic varnish. This protects the printing while applying the transfers.

The windscreen was cut from a tray that had held some bakewell tarts. The 'cups' are used for mixing and thinning paint. Fitting the windscreen, fixed with Kristal Klear cockpit glue, took some patience. Fortunately, the side windows are not glazed.

I added an etched roof rack from FKS Modellbau, and a suitcase from bits of plastic, and Totland Independent Trading Co was born. 

 Any similarity between this model and any other yellow three wheeler van is, of course, entirely coincidental. 😎

Thursday 25 March 2021

Stroudley 4 Wheelers for Freshwater


Two sets of 30 year old ex-LBSCR 4 car 4 wheeled carriages arrived on the Isle of Wight in 1924. They were followed later by some slightly newer Billington carriages, some of which still run on the Isle of Wight Steam Railway. The Stroudley sets saw less than 10 years service on the island, so are not really suitable for the period of my layout. But a set of etched brass bodies are available from Etched Pixels, so how could I resist.

 Being only body kits, I needed some chassis that were more suitable than chopped up N gauge Peco offerings. After a chat with David Eveleigh it seemed his etched nickel silver 4 wheel chassis for GWR carriages would be the most suitable. I would need some suitable overlays for the solebars to give the Stroudley appearance, and some buffer beams. So started my first and only attempt at designing my own etches. I needed to etch some window frames for the signal box and magazine stand for Freshwater, so a design was drawn up, and luckily, produced a sheet that was fit for purpose, albeit with plenty of spares - just in case.


Construction started in early 2018. 0.3mm holes were drilled for the handrails and doorknobs while the etches were still flat. A pillar mini-drill was used for this. The bodies were then folded up and the corners held with a fillet of solder. The guard's lookouts were a little more fiddly, but achievable. The etches also went together well, and with my solebars added started to look the part. 

Handrails were bent up from fine hard brass wire and soldered in the pre-drilled holes. Ultima door handles were also fitted.


Buffer beams with buffers and battery boxes were designed in Blender and printed by Shapeways. The ends have quite large buffers, while the intermediate ones within the set are quite small for close coupling. The components were primed with rattle-can sprays ready for final spray in Southern olive green. 

 Next came the transfers. The correct numbers were formed from individual digits, and were both ends as well as both sides. With all the repeated digits in the actual coach numbers, I needed two sets of transfers from Fox to complete. It took several evenings as I could only concentrate for so long, maybe two coach sides at a sitting. 

 Some glazing and interior detail was next on the list of jobs. I used UV cure glue to fix the glazing. I found images of the old Peco/Kitmaster card coach interiors on the Internet, so I adjust the size and printed off a couple of sheets, and chopped them up to fit. A few seated figure from China (eBay) were added. 

The bodies were glued to the chassis, and the roofs (with Ultima vents fitted) were glued on top and they were ready to roll. 


Friday 27 November 2020

ex-NLR 4 compartment first class carriage 6336 for Freshwater

Built by the North London Railway in 1864 as a four compartment, all-first class, 4 wheeled carriage, this vehicle was purchased second hand, over 30 years later by the Isle of Wight Railway (IWR), along with six other carriages. It was numbered 46. It retained the varnished teak livery, but bore the garter motif of the IWR, with its number in the centre. One of the first class compartments was down-graded to second class. When the Southern Railway took over in 1923, these 60 year old carriages were quickly withdrawn and disposed of, still in IWR livery, although it had officially been renumbered to 6336 and the second class compartment would have been down-graded again to third class. Over 50 years later, the body of 6336 was discovered as part of a bungalow at Hayling Island. It was acquired by the Isle of Wight Steam Railway, restored and mounted on a luggage van chassis, and returned to service 11 years later, in the olive green Southern Railway livery it had never previous worn.

So, this carriage is almost completely wrong for my 'Freshwater' layout based in the late 1940's-early 1950's, but Etched Pixels have a 3D printed model of the body, and David Eveleigh produced a 2mmFS etched nickel-silver NLR chassis, so I thought it would make a nice quickie addition for the layout. Well, not as quick as I had hoped, of course.

Here is the 3D printed body as it came, and the chassis under contruction, just three years ago: 


The body received a coat of primer, and the chassis completed, and sprayed black earlier this year. It is seen in company with an ex-LBSCR Stroudley carriage, which I will decribe in a later blog: 

There then followed some rubbing down, painting, addition of Fox transfers (two sheets needed because lots of 6's and 3's are used here). Some glazing and passengers were fitted, and then some gentle weathering. Finally it is ready to take its place in the stock box. 



Saturday 14 November 2020

Freshwater Point Rodding


One job that I had been putting off for too long was fitting dummy point rodding. It needed to be done before I could get on with adding details to the front half of the layout, as it would be too difficult to access where it had to go without causing damage. With an invite to the Ally Palley 2020 exhibition, I really wanted to get it done in time for that. I just managed to complete it before receiving confirmation that the event was cancelled. C'est la vie. Anyway, it has given me time to add further details before any rescheduled exhibition, whenever that might be.


On Freshwater, rodding was only required for a crossover pair of points near the buffer stops, a point and linked trap point at the station throat, and the facing point lock (FPL) with fouling bar protecting the point at the station throat. Hardly anything, really. I had two etches of point rodding, and one of cranks and pulleys, available from the 2mm Scale Association. These were acquired before the better looking system of etches and guitar wire, created by Laurie Adams, was launched. However, on reading up the instructions for this new system, it was clear that Laurie's system should really be installed before any ballasting, or scenic work is attempted. It was hard enough adding the simpler system to Freshwater with ballast and the station platform in place.


The etched nickel silver rodding I had comprised two runs of 7 rods, each about 11cm long, with cross joins where the support rollers would be. This can be cut down to narrower runs. For Freshwater, only three rods leave the signal box, and the longest stretch is only two rods, so I had plenty. I chose to use code 40 bullhead rail to form the roller supports. They would not have the detail of the newer system, but being near the far side of the layout, and suitably weathered, the lack of detail will only show in close-up photos. 

I started by cutting out lengths of triple and double rodding. A length of the code 40 rail was then laid across one of the etched cross joins, the end of the rail lining up with the side edge of the rodding. It was then soldered down, and the rail cut close to the other edge of the rodding with the faithful Xuron cutters. This was repeated, and repeated, and repeated ....


From the signal box, there is a short run of 3 rods across behind the buffer stops to a right angle corner before running along the front of the platform. For the corner, three right angle cranks were soldered to an offcut of etch, with spacer scraps under each crank so they sat at different heights to avoid interfering with each other. This was given a quick spray of grey primer, and glued in place with UV curing glue. This glue was a godsend in this process, as it gave ample chance to adjust the position of items, and hold them in place, but a 4 second blast of the blue light set it firmly in place. I don't think this job would have been possible with either superglue or epoxy resin.


With the cranks in place in the corner, a length of triple rodding was trimmed to length to fit between the signal box and the cranks, and the rods at the end next to the cranks gently bent to match the different levels of the three cranks. The rodding was then positioned, and glued with more UV glue, one support at a time. This was not easy in the cramped space between the buffer stops, platforms faces and signal box, but it was satisfying once done, and proved that it was worth while completing the job. There is also a pulley for a signal wire to a ground signal guarding the crossover, but I am not sure I will find anything small enough to represent the wire.


 The next run was to the two points for the crossover. This required joining three lengths of rodding, by carefully soldering the ends with a small overlap. One rod connects to both points of the crossover, so a short length of a single rod was soldered underneath one of the triple rods, gently bent down to reach a right angle crank. This should be one of the adjustable cranks. This crank was soldered to another etch offcut to form its base. The third rod was then cut to length for the position of a second adjustable crank further along the platform. This delicate lacework was then glued down, one support at a time, with the UV glue. Short lengths of nickel silver rod were then glued between the cranks and the points, to give the appearance that they connected to tie bars. 

There then followed a long run of twin rods along the platform edge towards the point at the station approach. About halfway, a pair of compensators needed to be fitted. These convert a pull to a push (or vice versa) and automatically take account of expansion and contraction of the rods as the temperature changes. The expansion of one length of rod that is pushing is cancelled out by the expansion of the second length of rod that is pulling. Clever stuff. 

At the far end of the run, one rod is linked to the point and trap point, similar to the crossover, while the remaining rod continues on alone to operate the FPL, with a fouling bar preventing operation of the lock when a vehicle is on it. The rod to the trap point had to have extra cranks as the rod crossing the tracks needed to thread through the point timbers ahead of the trap point blade.


Of course, I ran out of etch with a couple of inches left to complete, and a quick order to the 2mm Scale Association for another etch had to made. 

It was formed from odd bits and pieces to roughly resemble the real thing. 

A final touch was adding manual point levers to the rest of the goods yard points. I also read up about how they work in real life, which is fascinating, and again, clever stuff.

Mostly the rodding is out of the way of the track cleaner. It is just part of the FPL that is slightly above rail level. The manual point levers are a different matter. I place inverted plastic shot glasses over them while I work on the layout, but have demolished and replace two already. 


Friday 6 November 2020

Adding a few details to Freshwater

I have not been keeping up the blog here, so this is a little belated.

With the CMRA Stevenage exhibition approaching in January 2020, I was busy adding some detail bits to the rear half of the layout, while it was still accessible, before starting on the foreground stuff.

The figures are mostly ModelU, except where noted.

The newsagent now has a browsing customer, matching the photo of the real thing that I have. 


The old git on the bench is a 3D scan of me. 

 Some army guys, possibly connected with the rocket testing base that is about to be constructed nearby, have dropped down from the lorry and are slipping in the rear entrance on their way to some well-earned R&R. These are Gramodels white metal figures. 

A couple of suspicious looking train spotters 

I had this 3D printed by Shapeways, but for some reason the small letters F, T, L and Y did not get past Shapeways error checking. I now have a reprinted sign someone kind produced for me that I will fit when I find the time.


I have also added point levers in the goods yard, and a shunter to operate them. I do not know how long they will last as I have already demolished two of them and had to replant them.


 The bus conductor is selling tickets for the trip to Alum Bay.


Meanwhile, the station master is checking tickets and looking at his watch to see how long it will be before the next train. It could be a long wait, the way we operate the layout. The conifer appears in many photos and a video of the station, so had to be modelled. It was formed from Milliput, and covered in fine turf.  

This couple are from Hardies Hobbies. There are now 5 lamps on the platform, of three different styles. The columns and lamps are 3D printed, and the swan necks, or circular necks are 0.3mm nickel-silver rod. 

Luggage in Advance (LIA) was a big feature of traffic on the Island's railways, being delivered to the stations in various vans (including fish vans which prompted many complaints) ready for holiday makers to start their vacation. 


Monday 14 October 2019

Freshwater at OXRAIL 2019, and a 3rd Terrier

Just shown Freshwater at OXRAIL 2019 in Abingdon. I finally got around to adding some more details to the layout a few weeks before the show, mostly adding further vegetation along the river Yar, and the brook that runs behind the platform.

I had some extra operators, so I managed to just sit and watch shunting operations, for a change. 

And an additional detail added was a pair of benches, a ModelU scan of yours truely, and a terrier, donated to me by Hardy's Hobbies at the Tonbridge show earlier this year. The dog is extremely small.