Thursday, 30 June 2016


Himself returned from holiday last week to an unwelcome surprise.

It turns out that a layout which has seen 25 years on the road at exhibitions, many months in storage and a 400 mile migration to the other end of the country cannot survive 10 days with a home alone cat!

Not only has the moggy demolished the Up home signal he's also left a generous covering of fur all over the layout and, as you might be able to imagine, cat hair on flock and scatter sticks in much the same way as Velcro.

The local farmer is also going to be submitting a claim for compensation, no doubt.

Why was the cat anywhere near the layout, you ask?

Unfortunately the new premises have a major architectural flaw in that the cat flap is in one of the garage doors, so he has to have access 24/7 as a through-route for when nature calls.

Here is a snap of the culprit looking all innocent, by the way.

Tuesday, 28 June 2016


I've been rather lax in letting my stocks of styrene strip dwindle, which means that quite often at the moment I'm finding I don't have the right size just when I need it.

Such was the case the other day when I wanted to add a big, bendy pipe which sticks out of the big box underneath 117 and disappears up into the carriage.

In fact, that's a lie. I did have a small piece of the correct size tube but it was old and brittle and snapped when I attempted to put a 90 degree bend in it.

So what to do?

Eventually I had a brainwave. Speaker cable!

I sliced off a section of one half of cable, stripped out the multi-strand from inside, leaving just the soft sleeve and inserted brass wire in its place which could be bent to hold it in shape.

The sleeve was almost exactly the same diameter as the styrene tube I was going to use.

Fixed in place on the model it doesn't look half bad.

And it was an awful lot cheaper than buying a new packet of the right size styrene tube.


Sunday, 26 June 2016

Boxing Night

Carriage 117 is at the stage where there are seemingly no end of small jobs to finish it off, such as the various bits and pieces which live beneath the frame.

It starts off simply enough with a couple of basic boxes which I knocked up in a spare hour the other night.

These will have to have various bits of pipework, large and small, connected to them.

The larger one, I believe, contains the diesel-powered carriage heater and the smaller one is the fuel tank associated with it.

I am always open to correction, however.

Friday, 24 June 2016

Seating Installed

I can report back on my rather pricey tube of glue and..

..I'm quite happy with it, actually.

I doesn't quite give you the full 60 second adjustment time 'like it says on the tube', but it's not a completely instant bond and I was able to shift the seats and tables slightly after I'd dropped them into place.

I think this may be the last knockings of the old mould for the seat units, however, because the tables came a bit taller than they should have done.

Well, 1mm or so, anyway, but it makes me think that perhaps the rubber has stretched a little as the parts have been removed each time.

This meant I had to go through the rather dull process of sanding a little off the bottom of each casting on a sheet of sandpaper before gluing it on.

Otherwise it all went quite smoothly.

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Last Of The Big Spenders

I invested a small fortune in glue the other day.

A whole £6 on one tube!

I needed to go and lie down after that.

(I blame a glimpse of sunshine after a wet weekend.)

The reason is that I've been looking around for something to fit together resin components that offers the solid bond of regular 'Super Glue' and yet allows for some adjustment, but doesn't take at least half an hour to set like the alleged 5 minute epoxy I used last time.

Last year I did come across a gel 'Super Glue' that did just that but I was unable to find it in any of my local hardware stores.

Instead I found this, an apparently 'new' product - hmmmm - which promises 1 minute of wiggle room but with a brand name which suggests it will stick like sugar to a blanket.

Well, we shall see.

I shall report back on my findings.

Monday, 20 June 2016

Late Alterations

Whilst Himself was on holiday I sneaked into his study and liberated the Disco Car from the workbench in its half-painted state.

You may remember from a couple of weeks ago that I discovered that deep within his pile of research photographs was the perfect close-up picture of an end of 121 showing exactly what cables were dangling where.

Unfortunately this was only after I had 'finished' the model and some of those details had been added on a best guess from some very poor resolution images.

So what I had put on the left hand side was, as far as I could tell, a sort of disconnected, upright pipe arrangement.

The trouble is having seen this photograph in his study I find it very difficult to unsee incorrect details like this and so even though he was already well into the process of painting it I felt morally obliged to try and fix it, even if it means making a mess of what's already there.

Now, at least, there is some sort of cable hanging there, even if it isn't a tightly spiralled one like the real thing.

With a lick of black paint no one will know it was never there before.

Saturday, 18 June 2016

Chicken And Egg

What carriage should come first?

That's the question I'm posing this weekend.

Harbour Station's pride and joy 150 and its more humble companion 125 come as a unit.

As grand as it is, 150 is no use without being marshalled in a train with a vehicle with a brake setter. (And essential comfort facilities for its First Class passengers.)

They're next on my agenda after I've finished the Superbarn saloon 117 but the question is which should I build first?

In reality it was the Obs which was the first to emerge from Boston Lodge, although it was not fully fitted out for over a year.

The Service Car, however, would be the more straight-forward project from a modelling perspective.

I have a few weeks to mull it over, so in the meantime I'll open it up to you to let me know which one you'd like to see me tackle next.