Saturday, 30 May 2015

Point Wiring

Himself is making steady progress with relaying the tracks in the fiddle yards.

Because he never misses a trick he has already soldered the wires into the point motors before fitting them under the baseboards which will make life a lot easier.

They will have a terminal block on the other end to connect to the wiring loom, so as to make it easier to change a motor if one ever develops a fault.

The points in the photo are the one's at the end of the short sidings, the long sidings will have the same arrangement.

He tells me he'll have to save up his pension for more points and motors for the other end now.

Thursday, 28 May 2015

Extensions Front & Rear

It hasn't taken too long to add the extension at the back of the house and complete the garage at the front.

From studying the pictures I have of the house very closely I'm coming to the conclusion that the patio door is a later addition to the house and perhaps originally this was another of the designs where the front entrance was tucked away beneath an over-hanging upper floor.

What's for sure is that the door on the side of the garage leads only to a bin storage area so the only way in from the driveway is in through the patio doors or to go around to the back.

There was a lot of magnification of grainy pictures required here as well to establish for sure whether the extension was completely flush at the back with the original part of the house.

Eventually I decided that I could see it sat back ever so slightly and that the roof sat a fraction lower which is why I added this on as a separate unit.

It's beginning to come together - slowly.

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

On The Other Side

I've been cracking on with the 'south wing' of the new house (number 21) which includes the built-in garage which juts out at the front of the building.

Unlike most of the other houses in Oberon Wood this one does not appear to have an offset between the two halves so I only have to make three pieces, although one of the, the side, is typically challenging in terms of getting the slopes cut accurately.

The other two pieces look a little rough and all becomes clear when they are joined onto the rest of the house.

At the rear number 21 has had an extension added at some point.

Originally the wall would have continued all the way down, I guess, and there would have been a window and door there.

The extension will be built separately and added on later so for now I've just left a big hole so that there isn't an obvious blank wall to be seen when it's finished.

At the front I've extended the wall on the upper bedroom much further down into the garage space to provide more support for that long side wall and to help to keep the structure square.

I think the next step will be to complete the front piece of the garage and the other wall which joins at 90 degrees just to the side of the patio door.

Sunday, 24 May 2015

Ready For Relaying

Down south work continues on the Fiddle Yard refurb.

Himself has replaced the fascia and restored the uniform mud colour.

In these snaps you can see how there is now a clear split level along the middle section of the yard which will give us much longer storage roads.

He is waiting for more points to arrive to enable him to relay the trackwork

In the meantime he has produced a mock up of where the yard control panels will be positioned.

At the first two exhibitions we made do with a temporary double controller in the centre of the yard which combined with hand operated points wore out a lot of shoe leather over the course of a weekend.

Layout operating is so much more civilised when one can sit down on the job, don't you agree?

Friday, 22 May 2015

Hanging In There

After a week of very intense, and yet slow, work there are some encouraging signs of progress with house number 21

The basic box shape of the northern half of the building is together.

Now you can see very clearly how the step in the side wall works and relates to the attachment to number 22.

In this view the line, in Goat Cutting, is running along the bottom of the picture.

And here from the front you can see that the wall on the new house is set very much further back and how the ground level has risen.

The 'south wing' which has yet to be built, includes a single garage which extends a long way forward creating a kind of courtyard in front of the two houses.

These are not models that you can bang out quickly, they're far too complex for that, but it is very rewarding when you see them come together.

Wednesday, 20 May 2015


A re-design is underway on our fiddle yard which involves some minor surgery.

You may recall that the yard is at the back of the layout and the lines from either end enter at different heights.

For the first few exhibitions we had it divided exactly 50/50 with one half higher than the other.

The problem was the roads were not long enough to hold a full-sized WHR train of 10 carriages plus a Garratt. 

Himself's solution is to resconstruct the middle board so it still has two levels, but instead of being split along the width the fault line will run the length of the board with the lower level lines in front and the upper ones behind.

This will give us an extra 76 cm - or 2ft 6in in old money - about 3 coach lengths.

Putting this in practice meant cutting out half of the low and high levels and swapping them around, hoping they would match in size and fit.

And the good news is they did!

The fascia still has to be added in front of the high section, then it will have to repainted before the track can be re-laid.

Now that the track layout has been finalised - we hope -  Himself is going to built in powered points with automatic route setting.

This involves the deployment of much brain power, a shedload of diodes and cat's cradle of wiring.

Monday, 18 May 2015


So, I've finished scratching my head and begun cutting styrene on the new house.

I'm starting with the most difficult bit first, the northern wall which overlaps with the neighbouring house.

It took quite a bit of working out and on its own this stepped section looks very strange.

Offer it up into position though against number 22 and it begins to make sense.

The stepped section is necessary not just to help locate it in place but to help me work out where the wall at the front of the building is supposed to go.

There are three windows to hack into this side piece which is going to be interesting now that I can no longer lay it flat.

Hmm, tactical error there, I think...

Saturday, 16 May 2015

Empty Shell

I've been sent the brass body of our new carriage 16 with the expectation that I'll make up an interior for it in styrene.

It'll have to take its place in the queue behind the current house I'm building but it shouldn't be too much trouble.

It has been made up from a Worsley Works scratch-aid kit.  They can be a little tricky to put together, I understand, but if done so neatly and with care they make very nice models.

Being number 16 it includes the famous coupe compartment once graced by former Liberal Prime Minister David Lloyd George.

Remember them??

Thursday, 14 May 2015

My Brain Hurts!

I started work on house number 21 a couple of days ago but I've yet to take a scalpel to single piece of styrene.

It's a bit of a knotty one is number 21.

From the front it looks relatively simple - well, as simple as any of these Oberon Wood houses is...

The problems start when you take a peak around the back.

See how it nibbles into the corner of the house next to it?

Yeees. That's the tricky bit that's been causing me all the head scratching.

I've been spending my time drawing and cutting out paper templates to offer up against the model of 22 which I've just finished to try to make sure I've got it looking right.

Because I make the main walls of these houses of of 60" sheet I takes a quite a lot of effort and you really don't want to have to go cutting them out any more than you have to.

That's not the only bit of this building that's going to be challenging - take a look at the southern end..

All those windows and their positions betray what complicated and unconventional layouts these houses have plus they're built on a slope!

But there's no point moaning about it, I'd better just get cracking on with it.

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Gutter Press

So I've put the finishing touches onto houses 23 & 22 for the Oberon Wood scene with the guttering and downpipes formed and fitted.

Fortunately a lot of these houses appear to have square section guttering which makes my life a lot easier so I can use ready-formed styrene channel section for the gutters.

It's worth doing because they really do finish off a building.

One final detail to add to number 23 was the post supporting the porch which also has a downpipe attached to the front of it.

I'll be sending these down to Himself to finish off the painting but I won't be able to let them go until I'm well into the build of number 21.

Rather inconveniently these three houses are all attached in small but very significant ways which makes it impossible to build them without reference to their neighbour.

Nothing's ever easy, is it, eh?

Sunday, 10 May 2015


My bodyclock is still in intensive care after the effort of reporting on the 'Jockalypse' (or UK General Election to those reading this blog elsewhere in the world, so I've only managed some light tinkering in the last couple of days.

Even so I've completed the dormer window, the chimney and the ridge tiles on number 22.

Now all that remains is the gutters and the downpipes which I also need to add to number 23 which was sent south for the exhibition last month in an incomplete state.

The next house, number 21, is going to provoke even more head scratching, I fear, because one corner of it is attached to number 22.

You'll be able to read all the grizzly details in due course.

Friday, 8 May 2015

Now, Where Was I?

I've resumed work on the house I'm building for the Oberon Wood scene after finishing the DZ wagons and getting them dispatched.

It's been rather a hectic week in the day job, as you might well imagine, so I haven't been able to get that much done, but I did snatch a spare hour to cut the missing slate roof section and fabricate the dormer window.

The next task is to make up the chimney and add the ridge tiles.

After that both this house and the previous one, number 23, need their gutters and downpipes put on.

But first it's time to address the election sleep deprivation. Zzzzzzzz

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Try Again

So having made something of an FR modelling beginner's error the last time we're trying again with a replacement carriage 16.

If you were logging in here a couple of months ago you'll recall we were misled into purchasing a Worsley Works scratch-aid kit for number 15 when what we wanted to make was a model of 16 in its current Col. Stephens era livery.

The giveaway - which somewhat embarrassingly I had to have pointed out by a reader - were the windows in the ends of the carriage and the beading along the solebar cover.

Having obtained a replacement Himself has soldered together the body and the chassis which comes with the kit.

Just like with my scratch built modern carriages the roof will be fixed in place and the body detaches.

Next it will be posted up to me to make up an interior before Himself finishes it off.

And in case you were wondering the bogies, which are so well hidden on these Victorian vehicles, are Parkside Dundas FR bogies.

Not that anyone's ever going to see them, of course....

Monday, 4 May 2015

Last One, I Promise!

I finally got the flat wagons completed this weekend!

Is that a sigh of relief I hear? Yes, me too!

A concerted effort saw the last of the bogies folded up, soldered and fitted with their resin detail parts.

This is a shot of all 46 of them - you read that right! - ready to be sprayed red oxide.

And here are the wagon bodies and their quote of Bettendorf bogies.

Now this order is out of the way - and don't get me wrong, I'm very grateful for the business - it's time to get back to work on the Oberon Wood houses which haven't been touched for a month.

Saturday, 2 May 2015

Excavator In Action

Great news! The first of Stefco's dioramas is back in business and here's the proof.

Himself managed to get to the bottom of the mystery about what was preventing the lorry from reversing and completing the full sequence.

A tiny micro switch case had come apart causing it to switch the reversing action off.

So as you can see once the lorry has received the required number of buckets of sand from the excavator it sets off....

Reverses towards a chute where the back of the lorry rises and tips the sand out...

And it returns to its starting position and the excavator begins to dig out sand again.

You may be wondering what happens to the sand once it is tipped down the chute?

It falls down to where an archimedean screw spits it back out at the bottom of the quarry where the bucket is digging.

Very clever, eh?

There is one wee bit that Himself has not been able to restore yet.

There is a lazy solenoid which is supposed to lock the lorry turning arm into place but it will only work if you crank up the voltage, and that would cause everything on the diorama to speed up.

As it seems to work find without the locking mechanism Himself has disconnected it for now.