Sunday, 21 October 2018

The Resurrection

An old Presbyterian kirk seems a very appropriate place for what is starting to look like the second coming of Dduallt.

We had a terrific first day showing the layout at the annual exhibition of our new home club in Greenock, and were very pleased to receive a number of enquiries about taking Dduallt to exhibitions in what will be its silver anniversary year in 2019.

We've already confirmed that we'll be going to the excellent Perth exhibition in June and it looks like there are others in the pipeline now, too.

Truly this is the layout which refuses to die.

Having spent most of the previous quarter century being exhibited around southern and middle England (with a healthy number of forays to what the English touchingly insist on referring to as 'the North') it's been very rewarding to show to whole new audience here in the west of Scotland.

Those with long memories may recall that Dduallt did make a cross-border raid to appear at the Model Rail Scotland show at the SEC in Glasgow once.

We'll try and post some more pictures and videos from the show during the week.

Friday, 19 October 2018

Table Tops

Sometimes it's tricky to find a task to fill a spare half hour at the modelling bench.

If time is limited you don't want to start on something involved only to have to put it aside as soon as you've started.

This is partly why there hasn't been any progress on the latest Super Barn 119 for a while - that and the need to produce that batch of wagon kits I was working on.

Anyway, I had a few minutes to myself the other night, and wondering what I could usefully get on with, I decided to clean up the interior castings and glue the table tops into position.

I think will try and get the underframe detail fixed onto the floor first before I glue the seats into position - tempting though that is as a 'quick win' - because sometimes the effect of the glue can cause the floor to bow upwards.

As always in this game, patience pays off.

Wednesday, 17 October 2018

The Fourth Garratt

Himself has officially begun work on our fourth NGG16 - this one will be 143.

He tells me that he's taking it slowly and doing his very best work on it, but to me the progress looks very impressive already.

The front power unit has had its running plate folded and the buffer beam overlay and cow-catcher fitted, which involves a lot of very careful bending and a good deal or rivet pressing-out.

The picture below shows the chassis mainframes with the springs and equalising beams fitted along with the brake pull rods soldered into place.

The next step with this will be to fold them and fit the gearbox and axles.

I imagine there's a lot of re-learning and refreshing of memories going on for him as it's been four years since he completed our most recent Garratt, which was finished as 138.

Monday, 15 October 2018

Waggon Tracks

Lilla will be one of the models getting a first run on Dduallt at an exhibition this weekend, having only been completed last year, long after the layout was last shown.

It's been used to give our slate waggon rake a test on the layout, here seen double heading with Moelwyn (one of my favourite models).

I'm told that Lilla is able to haul the full rake around the spiral unassisted, which is rather impressive for a very lightweight 3D printed body, I think.

The slate waggons are starting to show their age.

They're made from Dundas plastic kits and some of them are getting on for 30 years old, and inevitably that material starts to get brittle as it ages.

This is manifesting itself around the axle boxes which are the most vulnerable parts of the model.

Himself is taking about a rolling replacement programme for the fleet.

We shall see.

Saturday, 13 October 2018

The Old Wizard

Part of the pre-exhibition testing process has been taking a look at Merddin Emrys to see why our oldest Fairlie has been getting a bit arthritic of late.

It had to be restricted to light duties in service on Bron Hebog at Dinas because in one direction is was reduced to a crawl at full power when running with a full rake of FR stock.

The difficulty with these Backwoods Fairlies is that the motor is not accessible for servicing - it is built into the body at an early stage of construction.

Himself's greatest fear is that it should fail completely or become burnt out.

One theory he had was that during the servicing he carried out on the bogies prior to the Dinas show, he might have got the drive shafts mixed up, or somehow not located properly.

He's reported back that he's had a fiddle with it and it seems to be performing a bit better.

Let's hope so.

Thursday, 11 October 2018

Still Stocktaking

The process of giving every item of rolling stock a check before the exhibition next week continues.

These two 'Bug Boxes' have been brought in for a coupling transplant.

Being old school I still refer to them, even today, as 5 and 6

For many years when I was a kid number 5 was the only one of the iconic Small Birmingham carriages in traffic, and it wore the regulation red livery.

(A lot of younger people won't remember this, and part of me suspects that at the moment we're not allowed to.)

This model is a legacy of our original dateline of 1988 for Dduallt, which was the last year that the passing loop remained available for operation and the 'one livery' policy was just beginning to break down.

Prince had emerged in red in 1986 and then then next year the 'Mountain Prince' two-tone carriage livery was brought in, followed in '88 by the reappearance of Merddin Emrys from its cosmetic surgery and carriage 15 going into a royal purple and cream colour scheme.

In the decades since then, of course, we've kept up with all the developments in livery, locomotives and rolling stock, but there was some historical logic to our modelling, once....

Tuesday, 9 October 2018

Lyn And Linda

Test running continues as we count down the days until Dduallt goes on show in Greenock next weekend.

When I popped in the other day and took a peek into the railway cave I noticed a very distinctive, golden shape in the lower fiddle yard.

Our Backwoods Lyn made its debut at the Superpower event on Bron Hebog last month, but that's a very different sort of layout - as is the WHR a very different sort of railway.

So the big question - to which I honestly do not know the answer - is will Lyn get around Dduallt?

Will it squeeze through Rhoslyn Cutting (beneath the bridge which carries the spiral) or will it get stuck?

All vote now!

(Of course, the real locomotive wouldn't get through Garnedd Tunnel, but Rule Number 1 applies.)

Sunday, 7 October 2018

Eking Out

I blogged a couple of days ago about how I was down to the dregs of my current stock of resin - well, at least one of the two liquid components - so I needed to be very sparing in how I used it.

The good news is that I've managed to cast enough sets of seat and table bases for the interior of superbarn 120.

I've also been able to cast a few more side pieces for our own design of the standard modern FR carriage bogie, which Himself has been pestering me for.

The few drops I have left I'll be using up over the next couple of days casting a few more seats for a friend who's asked very nicely.

I've no idea why he wants them, because to the best of my knowledge he doesn't have a superbarn or an observation car to put them in, but I shall endeavour to do as I am requested.

Because I'm nice like that.

Friday, 5 October 2018

Ticking Time Bomb

I've been caught out again by the deadly combination of lead and PVA glue.

This is like a silent killer that lurks within your models, forgotten about, until it slowly, remorselessly, tears it apart.

Such as Himself discovered was happening to my scratch built cherry picker wagon.

I'd forgotten I'd even filled part of the chassis with liquid lead to give it some weight when I built it.

Fortunately, as you can see above, the main body of the wagon has come off in one piece and although the chassis is broken in two pieces it was able to be glued back together.

The wagon is now back in service on Dduallt.

The question is, what other stock is fitted with this kind of time bomb?

Wednesday, 3 October 2018

Training Day

You can't put on a show without a proper rehersal, so Himself has been diligently checking all the stock we'll be using when we take Dduallt to the show in Greenock last this month.

He took a couple of snaps during a running session at the weekend.

The fact it's also, in FR-speak, Jolly Good Fun, is neither here nor there.

Monday, 1 October 2018


My supplies of resin are dwindling after casting another run of a dozen SAR wagon kits for sale through Narrow Planet and I'm going to have to prioritise what I use the last few millilitres for.

I think the best thing to use it for just now is to make up a set of seats and tables for superbarn 120 which is midway through construction.

These could be scratch built, of course, but that's very boring.

Before that I think it would be wise to make up a fresh mould as the old one was beginning to stretch ever so slightly.

The units were designed to fit exactly between the window pillars but on the last carriage I built they needed a little bit of filing so that each one lined up exactly.

Incidentally, if anyone has any suggestions for a good supplier of reasonably small amounts of suitable fast cure resin please so let me know.