Here’s one I prepared earlier.

Seeing as we are still struggling manfully on with the Jumbo, I thought I’d show you some of the wagons it will ultimately haul.
Apart from the open, the construction of which we followed a few months back, all these kit-based wagons were built a few years back and have just been converted for EM operation. I’m still rather proud of the finish though.
The only exception to this is the brake which is Hornby’s 2011 release.
For what it’s worth, this to me is the best representation of the BR standard brake yet produced and whilst the Bachmann brake is still great, there’s a real subtlety about this one that gives it the edge. I’ve fitted mine with LMS Models Dowty buffers and given it a lived in look. It really looks the part. If Hornby were to produce it with oil axle boxes I’d seriously consider making it the standard (I know !) brake in my fleet of stock.

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A very sharp learning curve!

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Work with the Jumbo had been at a kind of impasse of late as I tried to figure out why the rods wouldn’t behave correctly when power was applied. I tested first the rods (as four coupled units) then as this still showed the problem I decided to pay attention to the bearings with their massive slop. I decided to replace them but then became unhappy with the frames themselves. When I offered them up to the jig again there was still a lot of slop in the bearings and I decided to unsolder them and try to reset them on the jig. Just out of curiosity I checked the manual for the jig and, BANG, the realisation dawned; the mock axles on the jig are 1/8″ diameter. Guess who was using 3mm diameter axles on the loco! Cue a Homer Simpson moment.
I had been a little unhappy about the fact I had been producing new rods for a previously built chassis whose spacings had been altered in between times so I bit the bullet and dug out a spare set of frames which had been hanging about since 2009. Using the fresh bearings and Comet EM spacers I quickly knocked up a new chassis which also now has somewhere to mount the pick-up plate!
This model has made similar progress to a wee drunk man on a Friday night; one step forward, two back but I don’t care, I’m in a good mood and I know at least that it’s all going together correctly this time. Culreoch WILL see that ‘Doonhamer’ Jumbo in service soon enough!
All the same, isn’t it time the Imperial measurement system was carted off to an honourable retirement?
Metric is so much more logical!
(Retreats to nearest hard cover…)

Bits and bobs for sale

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I’m currently having a clear out of surplus items to gather some funds for EM track and wheel sets so I’ll be putting a few more bits and pieces up over time.
First up are these 4mm road vehicles from EFE, Oxford and Base Toys.
A useful selection covering the 1955-70 period. I’ll accept £45 for the lot.
Also available are fifteen Bachmann Presflo wagons in Blue Circle yellow livery. £100 secures these.
I also have a Bachmann A1 in original BR apple green livery as 60114, WP Allen, tested only and yours for £75.
If any of you are aircraft modellers, I also have a decent quantity of 1/72 aircraft kits for sale. Mainly British prototypes though there are a couple of US and Canadian types, all of the 1930-60 period.
As always, please reply if there’s anything of interest.
More railway-related items will appear in due course! 😊

As Summer draws to a close…

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Today has been a beautiful day down here in the Debatable Lands, as has the last few days in truth.
It really has been a fitting end to the best summer I can remember in ten years. The beginnings of change are there though as house martins circle and swoop, building themselves up for their long migration flights, the days are very noticeably shorter by comparison with even a month ago and the leaves on trees are already showing signs of turning.
Even on a personal level there is a sense of changing seasons afoot as I reach the age of fifty next year and take stock of where I’ve been and where I’m going. I’ve been in the same house for not far short of fifteen years and when you consider that makes for close on one third of my life it kind of slaps you in the face a bit! Similarly, I’ve been in the same job for 21 years and though it’s been reasonably lucrative I feel it has about served any useful personal purpose now. Both these factors are converging in a way that will probably make for big changes in my life over the next year and possibly beyond.
I’m not a materialistic individual as a look around my house would probably betray. You won’t find a state of the art telly, flash car, gadgets or the like. My models, books, two guitars and two pedal bikes are the only real material things I have any true attachment to, so money is not a true driver in my life.
I’m going to look at the situation next year and as I was lucky enough to join a good occupational pension scheme before they went hugely out of fashion with our enlightened Neoliberal employers, it may be that there’s enough in the lump sum pot by now to clear the mortgage. If there is I’m out of the rat race and leaving the ‘hands-on’ stuff to the young men!
Somebody else can do the weekend and nights while I get my health and energy back, hopefully working somewhere with better hours and less responsibility.
With no mortgage to worry about, I hope that work will become more a matter of choice than necessity as remuneration will be less important than it is when your primary need is to keep a roof over your head!
The next aspect of transition will be to sell up and move back to Scotland; not that far away in practice and preliminary observations suggest I’ll be able to find a place suited to my needs for no more and hopefully even less than the worth of my current abode without travelling too far.
And that’s where this piece starts to fit into the more common framework of my blogging.
One very important consideration of this move is modelling space and I’m looking at somewhere that has sufficient garden or yard space to construct a purpose-built modelling/layout shed or outbuilding.
Finally, with concerns about overloading the loft of this place out of the way, SERIOUS thought can be given to construction of a layout.
Hopefully there will be space somewhere in the house for the bikes and a tumble dryer, and with luck somewhere to put a wood-burner too!
After what seems a good few years in a holding pattern it’s good to rediscover a sense of direction and purpose.
How this is going to manifest itself in terms of my modelling output will start to be outlined in my next entry.
If you haven’t already nodded off, thanks for staying the course on this one! 😉

Finished at last

Finally after a rather stop-start process over the summer, the BT(L) is finally complete.
I’m pleased with how this model has turned out and though there are certainly imperfections it’s the first of probably half a dozen vehicles to come via a similar route. One thing’s sure; those Shawplan windows really lift things beyond any other type of previously available glazing.
I’ve given the coach a notional ScR prefix to the number but as these lavatory vehicles were few in number it’s unlikely any saw service over the border and I may try some cheeky cut and shut methods to produce non-lavatory variants in future.
Meantime I’m just going to bask in this model’s reflected glory while I await the new etched coupling rods that will allow me to move the Jumbo finally onward to completion!
I’ve also been re-wheeling a number of pre-existing vehicles including a re-bogied and detailed ex-Lima LMS 40′ CCT (that one, Jamie!) and a ‘Hornby Magazine’ Stove R, known in this neck of the woods as a Stove (a)R(se) on account of the less than wonderful chassis provided with the model.
It would be unfair to let this overshadow the model above the solebar which is, in fact rather good. The undercrackers were sorted out using a Brassmasters ‘Cleminson’ underframe which seems to work OK on a continuous run when fitted with OO wheels. How it will fare now it’s EM-ed and likely to negotiate pointwork may be another matter!

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Diagram 1790 further.

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Feeling a bit more motivated to sit in the workshops now things have cooled down a little in the north, I was keen to make a little more progress with the 1790 so on Friday night, I got the airbrush out and gave the model a good coating of Railmatch BR crimson.
This is actually a rather lovely, vibrant colour and it’s a shame BR chose to replace it with a rather sombre shade of maroon after 1956.
It has actually gone on with a rather nice sheen that shouldn’t require too much glossing up before the application of decals. I also ran a paint marker on the inside of the window frames – this makes a big difference to the appearance and will enhance the look of glazing when it’s fitted.
I’ll allow it to settle and cure a day or two before I visit that and meantime I have busied myself painting up the interior. I’ve no idea if these colours are truly authentic but I actually used Lifecolor brake dust (acrylic) for the interior cream as I’m pretty sure that the interior finish would have discoloured to the kind of dirty yellow seen here pretty quickly not only on account of the environment of the steam railway but also due to the universality of the smoking habit in the 1950s!
The interior finish isn’t at all sophisticated but it should suffice given the limited interior visibility.
I also took the opportunity to fit Frogmore grab rails to the doors. What I wasn’t prepared for was the sheer ease with which they went into place. One thing I would suggest to Frogmore though is that they could maybe produce some 8 and 9mm versions as I still had to make the extended guards’ door handrails myself; a task which you probably understand by now ain’t a personal favourite!
A cursory lick of paint on the rails finished the evening’s work.
I’m pleased with the look of the model so far and this project really seems to be bringing out the best in what’s now a vintage model.

Taking stock

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One project that has been bubbling away at the back for a while is this LMS Diagram 1790 Period 2 Brake 3rd.
It started life as one of those bargain Dapol knocked-down kits that in my opinion offer some of the best kit-basher material around.
Modifications include replacement of the bogies with Bachmann version which were easily re-wheeled with EM sets.
Comet cast underframe parts replaced the old 1970s vintage mouldings, the sides have been drilled out to receive grab rails and the vent holes in the roof have been filled pending re-drilling so the torpedo vents can be mounted in the correct configuration.
Once painting has been completed and the interior suitably decorated, I intend to add the Shawplan glazing.
It’s a tribute to the excellence of the original Airfix tooling that this model still scrubs up well the better part of 40 years after introduction!

The Coo’s ither tail!

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Modelling has been a wee bit slow of late due to being off work on leave. The fact I’m not on shifts means I have more energy and coupled with the extraordinarily good July weather in these parts this results on my getting a lot of necessary jobs in and outside the house done that I’d normally feel a bit worn out and apathetic to do!
Nevertheless, last week I did get this model to more-or-less completion.
Another of the part-builds I acquired from my friend. I completed this Parkside ex-LMS, Fowler era brake, finished in unfitted early-mid 1950s er grey she will be a temporary stand by until the Stanier is ready.
The worst part of the whole job was making the handrails. I absolutely hate this job as however hard you try with measuring and bending the wire, there is invariably a discrepancy that means the rail is either slightly long or short sufficient to provide just enough visually jarring distortion in the rails and generating a generous amount of industrial language from this builder.
Nevertheless, I managed to survive the handrail phase in this one although some weird primer-related clumsiness on my part led to a hint of re-planking as viewed here.
It’s not too bad though, I hope you’ll agree! As standard with my builds this one has LMS Models buffers and EM wheels.

Bachmann Mk1 sleeper (2nd class)

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Newly arrived is Bachmann’s latest coaching stock release, the Mk1 SLSTP (sleeping car, second class).
This model has been much anticipated by modellers of the 1958-83 period and as an overnight service using these vehicles operated over the Waverley, I number myself among those modellers.
Two Mk1 sleepers formed the backbone of the last southbound service on the Waverley in January 1969, becoming embroiled in ‘The Last Stand’ at Newcastleton Station in 1969 where extraordinary scenes (quite fitting in the general backdrop of revolution and direct action protest that personified 1968-9!) saw disgruntled locals blockade the line in protest at its closure. Mk1 vehicles took over the St Pancras-Edinburgh ‘Pullman’ from 1960, the service previously being provided by LMS 12 wheelers.
Now; the model!
Bachmann pretty much own the BR Mk1 series in both 2mm and 4mm these days and as you’d expect, the vehicle meets the high standards we now expect from this logical and intelligent manufacturer.
Long gone are the berm-like roof ribs seen on the early Mk1 releases as you can clearly see here.
Whilst I cannot consider myself in any way an expert on Mk1 coaches, there is a great deal of expert know how on the Yahoo group BR Coaching Stock
A fellow blogger, Bob Reid, certainly does hold greater knowledge of these vehicles and either of these sources will doubtless yield lots of suitable information.
Bob’s own blog is linked via my Blogroll, I recommend you follow the link as he has plenty of interest to share.
What’s evident from the photos is the overall finesse of the model and type-specific roof equipment appears well portrayed.
The BR blue and grey livery is well applied although mine has a bit of a ‘wobble’ in the white lining above one end door. Hopefully, this is an isolated problem. Otherwise, it’s a nicely executed job though and Bachmann have taken to using a rather nice shade of rail blue which actually looks rather vibrant in the bright sunshine the British Isles are currently enjoying!
This vehicle will form part of my 1968 ‘Pullman’ and as I understand it, I may have to alter some details of the vehicle as the model apparently depicts a vehicle subject to equipment alterations in the 1970s.
Some research work is called for!
The model as supplied runs on nicely moulded B4 or B5 bogies. I’m not sufficiently well read to identify them individually as yet but I’m going to put that right.
You can see that a pretty reasonable effort has been made to portray the cabin interiors though if you’re brave enough you could model some of them with blinds down.
Also included is a small parts bag with drawbar details and Bachmann’s ‘hose’ type coupling.
There’s no hint of any part being provided to recreate the slashed vacuum bag that brought the last Pullman to a stand just after it had got underway following the clearing of Newcastleton crossing. A mysterious figure was seen to sneak under the train just before this occurred; I know who the mystery figure is, but I’m keeping it to myself! 😉
That then, is a short but honest guide to the latest vehicle in Bachmann’s popular Mk1 range.
I’m also looking forward to the advent of their ex-LMS ‘Porthole’ stock, due soon also.
Please watch this space and I’ll offer some thoughts and observations when one comes to hand!

Diagram 1/044 Part 2.

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As promised, I continued construction of the wagon tonight.
First task was to fit the buffers and to assist with accurate fitting of the replacements, I first bored down the existing shank, thereafter widening the hole to accommodate the broader mounting spigot of the new cast buffers.
Next task was to fit the drawhooks (Exactoscale) and the label boards on the ends.
I then tackled the underframe and brake gear, replacing the plastic shaft with brass wire and adding brass L section to replace the moulded tie bars as I mentioned yesterday.
The last stage of work involved attaching the door bumpers, brake levers and finally some cast vac bags on the ends. Again these, like the buffers are excellent castings by Dave Franks at Lanarkshire Model Supplies (www.lanarkshiremodels.com).

The model is now ready for painting. One notable aspect of this kit is the thin-ness of the sides and the good internal detail of the body mouldings.
Some imaginative paintwork will bring out the full potential of these details!