Monday, 16 September 2019

Seeing Red

When we posted a set of pictures of the grey Garratt 87 a few days ago there was a request for some of the red one 138, and we’re happy to oblige.

This was our third Backwoods NGG16 in the fleet.

It was the first, however, to feature those lovely huge headlights.

All the WHR Garratts differ in small details - on 138 one of those is the chimney which needed some modifications to the one supplied in the kit - another is the filler on the top of the front bunker.

Like with children it’s probably wrong to have favourites, but if pushed I’d have to say it comes just behind 87 for me just now.

I might change that opinion when I see 130 finished?

Saturday, 14 September 2019


Social media - and its menacing algorithms - reminds me that it’s 4 years since we took Bron Hebog and Dduallt to show at the Welsh Highland Great and Small weekend at Dinas.

It was an epic weekend, and a huge undertaking, and most likely not something we’ll ever repeat.

In some ways I’m astonished that its been that long since we ‘completed’ the layout in structural terms, but the recent work Himself has been doing with more trees brings home to me how sparse the layout was back then.

It’s something very evident in this shot of the Funkey from four years ago.

Our next outing with it will be in five weeks time in Greenock.

Thursday, 12 September 2019


The WHHR Buffet Car is ready to be primed and painted.

Himself has completed the underframe and added details such as the brake pipes.

We added a 10 thou styrene shin to finesse the ride height.

It should be a simple paint job with its plain green livery.

Tuesday, 10 September 2019

Non-Corridor Corridor

I’ve always been amused by the way the NWNGR Ashbury carriages were referred to as ‘corridor’ coaches, because by modern terminology they so clearly are not!

However, I suppose that back in the day being able to move around an open saloon, changing seat on the move if one so wished, was a noteworthy development on the narrow gauge where most other stock was made up of divided compartments.

These days, of course, we take the word corridor to mean a door in the end, so you can move from carriage to carriage, and the adaptation of FR 11 and 12 to run as a buffet/obs would have been transformative.

Anyway, as you can see, the interior for the last of our WHHR carriages (for now) is made and with a fair wind behind him maybe Himself will get the full set ready to run in Greenock next month?

Sunday, 8 September 2019


A few more trees have appeared on the layout, around the biggest feature which is the 180 degree bend leading into Cutting Mawr.

These are but a fraction of what is there in the real location, which is getting rather bushy, but the trains look so good making their way around the curve that we don't want to hide them from view behind a forest of foliage.

Friday, 6 September 2019


A few more bits have been added to the bunkers of 130 as more clues filter out of Boston Lodge and Dinas as to how it will definitely look.

I’m told this has been 3 days work.

Himself describes these as the 'fiddly bits' and they include the sand pots, mounted on the front of the tanks, which have recently been painted in the lovely deep plum colour for the real loco.

Among the most tricky parts are the lifting eyes which have to be fashioned from brass and - painfully - soldered in place.

The ‘greedy rails’ have been added to the top of the coal bunker.

The big, rectangular water filler doors have been knocked up in styrene for the front unit as well.

At the back end the vacuum pipe and the lubricator have been put in position, but this isn't being done on the front as no photographic evidence has come to light yet....

Wednesday, 4 September 2019


A small piece of progress to report on James Spooner.

Himself has fitted the drive shafts which connect the motor - hidden in the firebox - with the power bogies.

They don’t have pick ups, or an electrical connection to the motor yet, but it has operated in a test with an umbilical link to a power source.

These solid shafts are a development of the Backwoods kit which originally used long, thin springs to take the drive, but the extra flexibility was unnecessary, and from the Single Fairlie kit onwards this is what was adopted.