Thursday, 27 August 2015

Great Gables

As if cutting out two dozen windows wasn't tedious enough I've moved onto something that takes even longer on the farmhouse project - scribing the stones on the gable end walls.

I'm not attempting to create a stone-by-stone match for the real wall, because that way surely madness lies, but I do aim to create something that looks vaguely like it.

The main feature of the wall is that it has a few quite large stones here and there so I'm aiming to get that effect.

I don't have a particular scribing strategy, it's more like a kind of scratch doodling - one stone leads to another stone until the whole of the wall is filled up.

What you're looking at is one evening's work - I reckon there's another two to go on this one and then there's the other gable end to do.

Tuesday, 25 August 2015


With just over a fortnight to go until the Welsh Highland Great & Small (2) show at Dinas it's time to stop construction and start the preparations.

That includes giving Dduallt a once-over to ensure that it's in a fit state to be exhibited again.

The layout hasn't been exhibited for about 4 years we reckon, so over the weekend Himself got out the Fiddle Yards and tested that they all worked as they should.

Among the functions to be checked was the route-setting logic, the point motors and the working of the traversers at each end.

Himself reports that all seems to be working well.

The final job was to give them a quick lick of paint around the outside to ensure they're in a fit state to be seen by the public.

The next job is to check the pretty bit - I'll have some photos of that to show you in a few days I hope.

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Fairy Lights

.Himself has been busy wiring up the fiddle yard control panels which are festooned with LEDs

I must confess I'm not entirely sure I understand how they work myself so the show at Dinas next month is going to be a steep learning curve for the entire operating team.

From what I can gather the red LEDs indicate the isolated sections for loco holding as stabling.

(What I don't know yet is whether light on means the section is live or dead - I can see collisions!)

And the green ones show which road / route has been selected.

I'm presuming that the rotary switch relates to the maze of point work at the yard throats and the ones at the run round end are linked to the vertical switches controlling the direction of the points connected to the head shunts.

What's truly remarkable about all this, if you ask me, is that it's entirely analogue and there's not a DCC chip anywhere to be seen.

Which is just how it should be.

Friday, 21 August 2015

Short Back & Sides

The ever-so-slightly monotonous process of cutting out the window holes for the farmhouse continues.

There are rather a lot of them, I can only conclude that the house at Cwm Cloch was built after the repeal of the Window Tax!

I've now got holes in the right places for two thirds of the building, the two sections that make up the L shape of the accommodation.

What's left to do is the small extension which is built at the back.

Then it will be time to scribe the exposed stonework and begin adding window frame details.

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Front Of House

After more than a week off I've been easing myself gently back into modelling.

Last night's effort was a whole 2 windows cut out of the front facing wall of Cwm Cloch Farmhouse.

Well, it's a start.

There are four windows to open out in the back wall and then another seven or eight (I can't quite remember) on the gable ends.

Once that's done it will out with my scribing tools to make those gable ends look a little more like they're built of exposed stone rather than styrene.

Second Showing

I'll confess from the start that there isn't anything new to report today.

For the last week I've been banished from my modelling bench on account of Himself occupying the study on a visit north.

On top of that he's had best part of three weeks out of modelling action including a week in Wales working on the FR.

All of which doesn't give me a lot to blog about, but as a time-served member of the Fourth Estate I refuse to be defeated by the mere absence of anything new to report - I'm more than happy to recycle old stories!

So I thought I would whet your appetite for the WHR Great and Small show next month with a reprise of the videos that were shot on the layout the last time we were there two years ago.

That was filmed by the F&WHR's John Wooden with the footage from the moving train filmed using a small camera placed on a flat wagon.

Our second movie is a true miniature driver's eye view shot using a special camera wagon belonging to the the railway's Huw Jones.

Back in 2013 we were only running trains on around half of the layout, the rest of it had yet to be built.

This time, however, Bron Hebog will be on show in its entirety and I'm very much hoping that we will be able to repeat the filming exercise.

Saturday, 15 August 2015

Loaves And Fishes

Exhibiting both Bron Hebog and Dduallt at Dinas next month is going to require a lot of thought in rolling stock distribution between the two layouts.

Even when the two railways were disconnected there was an element of FR stock being shared with the WHR and ever since the '40 Mile Railway' became a reality that process has accelerated.

In modelling terms we have done our best to keep pace with the construction of new carriages, and restoration of locomotives as we built Bron Hebog, but we did not necessarily make duplicates of the FR stock which operates on the railway, failing to foresee a situation where we would have to operate them simultaneously.

So how are we going to get by over the Super Power weekend?

Well fortunately we have managed to keep pace with a lot of the FR carriage refurbishment programme so, for example, we have models of the 1st generation observation carriages 100 & 101 as well as their replacements 100 & 102.

We also have four of the new 'Super Barn' carriages, the service carr 124 and Stefco's 122.

Locomotive-wise we have modern interlopers like Lyd which were only being dreamt about when we started building Dduallt in the early 1990's.

So my plan is to conserve rolling stock by running Dduallt in an early 1990's configuration.

This means we can keep back locomotives like DLG, Taliesin, Vale of Ffestiniog, Lyd and Palmerston to bulk out the train roster on Bron Hebog along with the carriages built for the FR over the last 20 years, while hopefully still having enough trains from the earlier era to provide interest on Dduallt.