Friday, 10 April 2020

Fade To Green

Princess is beginning to look suitably distressed.

The choice of which era to depict our new tow-along model was left to me, and I decided to go for the period which fascinated me most, when it was rescued from its plinth in Blaenau and brought into the museum at Porthmadog.

In this state it was so obviously a non-runner,  whereas these days it looks as immaculate as any of the other FR engines, and the urge to shove a motor in it would be overwhelming.

An FR figure recently shared some correspondence from the late Alan Garraway where he recalled his fear that there would be moves to restore it to traffic in the early days of the restoration - the last thing he wanted with traffic booming was another puny small England engine.

Hiding it in plain sight in Blaenau, as a promotional tool and statement of intent, probably served a double purpose for AGWG.

One point of modelling interest in the picture is Himself’s trick for using black lining as a guide for getting your black infill and edging to look flawless.

And don’t you just love those white wheel rims?

It’s like a 1970s Ford Cortina on rails!

Wednesday, 8 April 2020

Brew Up

I don’t normally go into micro detail inside our rolling stock but I thought I’d make an exception with  Van 51 and try to make something to represent a kettle on the hot plate in the corner - surely the most important piece of kit on any working party!

Rooting around in my spares box I also found a plastic wheel which will do for the handbrake.

There are just a few bits left to put on the outside - like a vacuum pipe and an air vent in the roof  and then it’s ready to join the ever-lengthening queue for painting.

Monday, 6 April 2020


I’ve done my bit on Gwyrfai and it’s been delivered to Himself disguised amid bags of shopping from the supermarket.

The reference to optimism is regarding the number of chairs in the front saloon.

I’ve fitted 8 as per the design, however the carriage entered service with only 6.

Will it ever receive the missing pair as originally intended?

Will this be the carriage equivalent of the New Moelwyn Tunnel portals?

Am I going to look a right idiot?

Only time will tell......

Saturday, 4 April 2020

Primed Princess

New images have emerged from within Himself’s isolated bunker of progress on our unpowered Princess.

He’s added some extra details to the kit, such as the vac pipe at the front and extended the nameplate block.

I’ve decided to go totally out of period and gone with heart over head on the finished livery.

We’ll turn it out in peak-Garraway era condition green with frames highlighted in red and white tyre walls.

That’s the condition it was in on the plinth at Stesion Fein and then in the goods museum at Harbour Station where I first remember seeing it.

Does anyone have a photo, or the rights to a photo, I could share?

There are lots on the internet but I try not to do copyright theft.

Tuesday, 31 March 2020

Finishing Line In Sight

Finally I can see the end of the Gwyrfai project - it at least my bit of it.

Last night I finished the outstanding jobs on the interior, fitting the bulkheads, lowered the tables in the front saloon and fashioned something to represent the shelf at the front that actually hides a demister unit on the real carriage.

The remaining construction tasks now are to fit some steps, the electrical connections at the corridor end and fit some channels under the ceiling to help hold the glazing in.

After that I will deliver it to Himself - without breaching social distancing (!) - and he can have the dubious pleasure of painting and lining it.

Won’t that be fun!

* I should probably point out that I am a key worker & Himself lives on my route to work.

Sunday, 29 March 2020

They’re In

So last night I decided to stop faffing about and get the interior fixed into Gwyrfai

The tricky bit is always making sure the seat backs are lined up with the window pillars precisely, but the slow setting super glue helps with this.

I have still to make up the bulkheads and I also need to cut down the height of the small tables in the front saloon where the windows come down lower.

It feels like a big step forward has been taken, though.

Friday, 27 March 2020


There are two options here - either Himself is very bored with his self-imposed confinement already, or there’s a tricky task he’s trying to avoid!

Out of the blue last night there popped into my inbox news of a new project to make up an ancient white metal Small England as an unpowered, tow-around Princess.

Naturally I approve of this plan because I just love the England engines.

We already have a redundant old Ibertren chassis to mount it on.

The question, of course, is what livery to paint it in?

The current Victorian lined maroon in museum condition?

Or just liberated from the plinth in Blaenau condition with faded green and red frames?

For some reason I’m fascinated by tatty, Garrawegian brutalism, perhaps because it’s something I just have a vague memory of as a child?