Thursday, 31 December 2015

ROTY - Part 3

And so to the final part of our review of the year.


The three days we spent in the Goods Shed at Dinas exhibiting Bron Hebog and Dduallt side by side were the highlight of the year for Himself and I.

It was a major effort to have both the layouts there and we couldn't have done it without the support of a great team of helpers, so thank you once again to Graham, Max, Huw and Chris.

We also gave a debut at Dinas to the water tank wagon which has now been lettered and varnished by Himself.


After the upheaval of the exhibition and the effort to complete models to use on the layout I spent the early weeks of October catching up on a backlog of orders for my South African wagon kits which I cast in resin.

I also found the time to put the finishing touches to the farmhouse which had been shown incomplete on the layout at Dinas.


11 months after I'd begun work on them Himself finished painting carriages 11 and 12.

We had a little disagreement about the colour he chose for the droplights.

I won in the end and they've since been repainted in a shade that is more to my liking.

He spent a number of weeks convalescing from an 'intermediate overhaul' but once he was able to get back into the workshop he painted a couple of Barns which had been waiting in the queue for the paint shop for about 5 years!


In recent weeks I've been working through the backlog of buildings which the Artistic Director drew up plans for earlier this year.

One of them, which only took a couple of days to knock up, was this small outhouse which sits next to the farm house.

We rounded off the year with another of the projects which was begun at the turn of the year.

Himself had done a rough paint job on Conway Castle ahead of the appearance at Dinas but it still requires lining out.

His first attempt involved some home-painted and home-cut waterslide transfers to match the two-tone green colours with commercial yellow lines on top.

We weren't entirely happy with them and he's going to try again with some even thinner ones.

That's just one of the projects lined up for the year ahead.

All that remains is for us to wish you a Happy New Year and thank you for coming here to read the blog in 2016 and look forward to welcoming you in 2017.

Tuesday, 29 December 2015

ROTY - Part 2

Welcome to the second instalment in our review of the modelling year


Himself began a new project this month.

 For a long time I'd been intending to replace our models of the original FR bogie carriages 15 and 16 which I scratch built in styrene over 20 years ago and which were finished in late 1980's liveries and so really not suitable for running on Bron Hebog.

If these lovely Worsley Works etches had been available back in the 1990's then there is no way I would ever have attempted to scratch build such an intricate, panelled carriage myself!

This is number 16 which will be finished in the 1920's Colonel Stephens green livery.

Himself was also working on redesigning the fiddle yards on the layout with overlapping upper and lower yards to allow us to run full-length WHR trains.


I'd been working away on that row of houses for a few months and at last we had a row of three almost ready for painting.

I find I can get a little bored when working on one project solidly like this, so I decided to put the house building on hold once the 3rd one was complete and resumed work on the Garraway Set which had been on ice since the start of the year.

11 was assembled and a roof fitted before I began work on the interior.


It's becoming a familiar theme, but once again I gave myself a kick up the backside and resolved that the time had come to begin building a model that I'd been planning in my head for ages.

And so in the space of a few weeks I produced this model of the WHR water tank wagon which was built up on a DZ wagon chassis.

The tank, if you were wondering, was made with a length of 22mm plastic plumbing pipe.

The Artistic Director had one of his periodic bursts of activity and produced a mock-up of the Cwm Cloch farm house before finalising the design for me to build.

Here it is placed on the layout to check for fit and scaling.


Redesigning the fiddle yards was turning into quite a marathon project.

Himself spent making weeks wiring up these control panels at either end.

At the other end of the country I started work on building the farm house with the intention that even if it would not be finished we would at least have something presentable to place in the space for the big event of the year which was coming in September - taking both layouts to show at the WHR Great and Small event at Dinas.

And that's where we'll pick up for the final instalment of our review of the year.

Sunday, 27 December 2015

ROTY - Part 1

It's always interesting in the last few days of December to look back at all the modelling - and blogging - we've done over the course of the year.

I'm always surprised by both how little and how much we've achieved.

Often I'll look back and see that a model that we've only just completed was started in January and in other cases we've finally finished off something that has been lying part-built in a drawer somewhere for years.

So here, then is the first part of the Bron Hebog Review of the Year.


Himself began 2015 by getting down to work on painting our 3rd Garratt, 138.

We'd chosen the colour of the red together at the the exhibition in Hull a few weeks before (he's never been good at reds) but at this stage I had a few doubts about whether I'd got the shade quite right.

I was getting started on a project I'd been thinking about for many years, to make a replacement pair of models of FR carriages 11 and 12 in their current condition.

What finally spurred me into action was the recent death of legendary FR GM Allan Garraway.

During FR Vintage events these carriages run in what's known as the Garraway Set and so I felt it was really time I got around to making them as a little tribute to him and his huge contribution to making the FR what it is today.


Turns out I really didn't need to worry about that shade of red at all!

Himself finished painting and lining 138.

It looked truly magnificent!

He also began on one of the Christmas presents he received.

This was my not-very-subtle way of ensuring that another of my long-term projects - an updated Conway Castle - got started.


Some things never change - I was building houses for the layout!

This was the early stages of a row of houses that run in front of the cutting into Goat Tunnel.

As spring sprung it became warm enough for Himself to venture into the 'Grandad Cave' again and he began filling the Afon Cwm Cloch with fake water.


As you can see, I was making good progress on the houses this month.

All of the houses in the Oberon Wood scheme are different and not one of them is what you would call a conventional house design.

On the other hand, with over a dozen of the to make, at least I could never complain that the task was becoming repetitive, even if it did involve a lot of head scratching some times!

April was show time again!

We took the layout to a show at Crawley and 138 made its public debut.

Apologies if this sounds a little conceited, but it doesn't half look good!

We'll look back at May - August next time.

Friday, 25 December 2015

Merry Christmas

Grateful thanks to the artist Frederick Lea and FR Company for this image

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Window Gallery

As I predicted progress on the house has slowed but that's because some of the work that remains is rather intricate, like fabricating the long gallery window frame.

Theses are a distinctive feature of the Oberon Wood houses.

Not all of them have them but those which do all have it included in a similar fashion with the window set back under the eaves.

You get a better impression of how it fit together when you have the slate sheet cut to size and positioned below it.

I've also done a little bit of work at the front making up the sides and the top of the dormer window.

That's probably about as much as I'll get done to the house before the New Year what with all the festivities and the small matter of my work room being occupied by guests!

Monday, 21 December 2015

Under Cover

You may have noticed a big opening in one of the front walls on the new house I'm building and perhaps assumed it was going to be filled by a garage door.

Nothing is ever obvious in Oberon Wood, though.

It is, in fact, a very substantial porch leading to what we must suppose is the front door.

This little section too a wee while to do because it was a little fiddly adding all the footings on.

There probably wasn't any point in going to all that effort because almost all of it will be hidden below ground, but that's no reason to cut corners, is it?

Saturday, 19 December 2015

3 Courses Before Dinner

A quick glance at any of today's photos will confirm that the two halves of number 20 joined up very sweetly.

Of course, there was never any doubt.....

Once again progress has been pleasingly rapid.

With the two bits of the building fixed to each other I could get on with bonding on the extensions below ground level to help seat the building on the layout.

Once those were in place I could then add a strip of brickwork, 3 courses deep, all around, except for one corner at the front which has stone cladding which was scribed onto thin styrene sheet and glued on.

I'm probably approaching the point where the pace begins to slow down a little, or at least progress is not quite so obvious, but I've enjoyed the last week watching this house come together so quickly in such a short space of time.

Thursday, 17 December 2015

The East Wing

The building has taken a big jump forward since I last posted about it two days ago.

Not only have I added all the window frames and completed the fiddly door details but the five pieces have been glued together in position.

You'll have noticed there's a big gap in one wall.

That's because the this eastern side of the building overlaps the smaller, taller western half.

(Nothing's ever simple in Oberon Wood-land)

The idea is that when he two halves are offered up the western half will sit neatly within the jaws of the bit you see above.

I'll keep in in suspense about whether that's what happens in practice...

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Cutting Windows

It doesn't look like it but this was most of an evening's working cutting all the window and door holes in the pieces for the 'east wing' of number 20 Oberon Wood.

The ones in the main side piece (the big funny-shaped piece) were challenging because they are quite small overall and in the case of the ones on the top right quite narrow as well.

The doors are going to be fun to make.

One piece, as you can see, has an extra-wide doorway with a much thinner one next to it.

The thin one is, I believe, a refuse cupboard and is filled with a slatted wooden door.

The large one to the right is divided in half down the middle - one side is a fairly standard glazed door with a thick bar in the middle, but to its right is a panel - I assume a fixed one - with thin vertical glazing bars.

I don't have a photograph to hand so you'll have to accept that description for the moment and I'll post a picture here when I've done it and you can judge me on it then.

Sunday, 13 December 2015

Strange Shapes

This odd looking collection of parts are the blank outer wall pieces for the other half of the latest house I'm building.

The shape of number 20, like many of the Oberon Wood houses is, complicated enough with the combination of  inset porches, dormer windows and those distinctive long galleries.

But this one is even more so because it sits on a plot where there is a considerable change in the ground level front to rear.

That is what accounts for the uneven shape along he bottom of the biggest piece.

It needs to be cut like that because there are three rows of brickwork visible between the ground and the render.

The way I'll do that is to mount another section of styrene inside, all around, which will extend below the bottom of the house forming a nice, flat foundation.

I'll then be able to bond a layer of embossed brickwork pattern styrene on top to complete the effect.

Friday, 11 December 2015

Double Yellow Lines

They're always a cause of trouble, aren't they?

In this case it's the lining on Conway Castle which is causing the headaches.

This diesel emerged from the works at the start of the 1990's with a rather intricate tri-tone livery to match the new push-pull carriage set - intricate for a narrow gauge diesel, that is - and Himself has been trying something clever to get the ultimate definition between the colours.

He has been making his own transfers by cutting very thin slivers of waterslide transfer paper and then painting them with both the shades of green used on the model.

Then he's applied them give a perfect break line either side of the cream band around the middle before adding on the straw lining.

The problem is that the lines are too thick.

(I suspect I wasn't too popular when I told him that after he asked my opinon.)

The first time he was using a 0.5mm wide straw line but there is a 0.35mm available so he's going to take a little break, give his tired eyes a rest, strip it all off and try again.

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Twenty's Plenty

I've begun work on what must surely be my last model of 2015, another house for the Oberon Wood estate scene.

These buildings come in a variety of shapes - all of them very complex - but the trick I've found is to break them down into simple units.

So I've begun number 20 with the square two storey wing which sits at the western end of the building next to the railway cutting.

As always the most challenging bit was hacking the window apertures out of 0.60" sheet, especially the long narrow one on the gable end.

Monday, 7 December 2015

A String Of Barns

The two new carriages have had their brass bits and pieces added and given a coat of varnish.

The shot above shows 105 (the one with the bog in the middle) and below is 106.

Barn aficionados will be able to spot many differences between these carriages which were built more than 35 years apart.

(The real ones, not the models)

Even more variety can be seen in these snaps of the new carriages posed with another couple of carriages from our collection of Barns posed on the spiral.

For those who are interested the other models you can see here are 104 and 107, all the Barn saloons in one train.

Saturday, 5 December 2015


So, at last, our 1000th post!

It was more than five and a half years ago that I started this blog.

I've never been one for keeping a diary so it feels like quite an achievement to have kept it going.

In more recent times I have tried to keep the discipline of posting every other day.

That hasn't always been easy, especially when there hasn't been that much actual modelling going on, but fortunately I am able to call upon the skills developed in the day job to make a little sound like a lot more than it actually is.

Waffle would be another word for it.

One of the challenges of blogging is to be able to illustrate your posts which sometimes requires a little lateral thinking - hence the pictures of 138 in its rather lurid livery during a spell when its identity was being prostituted to please one of the major sponsors of the WHR rebuilding.

Apologies if you'd forgotten all about this and I have traumatised you anew.

Before writing this post I took a look at what I was working on when I wrote the first few entries.

In some ways a lot has changed and in so many others it hasn't.

Back in 2010 the layout was not even one third built.

We had the station area and that was about it.

Anyone who's been with us from the start will have followed the periodic spasms of construction leading to the the completion of the layout - in trackplan terms at least - last year.

Other things do not seem to have changed that much.

In the early posts I was building my first Super Barn,a model of 103, and we're still knocking them out - the new 117 and 118 are on the agenda for 2016.

I notice that at the time I started blogging I had already built the collection of farmyard buildings at Cwm Cloch and it was something of a jolt to realise that it's taken best part of 6 years to get round to doing the farm house itself.

It's been pleasing to watch the page view counter clicking up - we should easily pass 400,000 next year - although you have to be careful not to become too obsessed with these things.

By my reckoning it'll be another 3 years before we reach 2000 posts. I wonder if I can keep it up?

Thursday, 3 December 2015

House Building Again

I've spent most of this week contemplating the challenge of the next row of houses in Oberon Wood

We've reached the top left corner of the scene, as you look from the front of the layout so in this view below they are the houses on the left hand side of the picture.

If you were to stand where the operators do then the first one I'll be tackling is at the right hand edge.

The railway line is running in a hidden cutting in front of them if you were struggling to place the viewpoint.

Once again these are very unusual buildings and I think this row might be the most challenging yet.

I'm hoping I'll be able to start cutting styrene at the weekend.  Strictly's on again on Saturday night.....

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Farmhouse Outhouse

I chose to blog at the weekend about the two new carriages which are virtually finished but I should point out that I did manage to achieve my goal of completing 2 buildings in 7 days.

Admittedly they are very small and relatively simple but still I'm rather pleased to have made so much progress in a short space of time.

The outhouse took three sessions to complete - it was scratching out the stonework which took most of the time.

Now it's back to something with fewer stones but mind-boggling complexity.

Yes, I'm going to tackle another one of the Oberon Wood houses!