Jumbo victory!

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I am pleased to report the final completion of Jumbo 57375 as she is now known.

All the major work is now complete. Coupling links and loco-tender coupling await but she is otherwise complete at last.
It’s been a long, hard road but here we are at the end. Perseverance has borne the sweet fruit of victory.
Who would have thought such a basic model would have thrown such obstacles and offered so much resistance?
It has certainly been a model that has taught me a great deal that can be put to good use in future projects.
As in other aspects of my life, finishing the project now as we reach the end of the year draws the line under a phase that has lasted four or five years where things have occasionally lacked direction and proceeded in a stop-start manner. That can be extrapolated beyond the workbench to a major degree also but the Jumbo has brought that cycle to a close in a satisfactory manner.
I’m rather pleased with her appearance and in 2015 you will have the opportunity to see her in operation on Culreoch, bullying various wagons around!
Right now though, I’m just going to sit back and enjoy looking at my first EM gauge locomotive. Although back in the day, this model was started in OO for the notion I had of an east Central Belt project by the name of Inchkennet, here she is ready for a career in ‘south west Scotland’.
I know somebody who can’t wait to see her there!

More photos of 10000

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As promised during the week, some more photos of 10000. I haven’t checked the model out dimensionally so far, but Bachmann seem to have researched the model well and the detail on this version sees to correspond with the period (August 1956-July 1957) when 10000 ran in traffic in this particular livery.
The distinctive yellow roof has a story all of its own which is best quoted directly from David Hunt’s profile of the LMS Mainline Diesel Electrics, No.9 in the Wild Swan Profile series;

“…towards the end of their stay in the [Derby] Works, the CME, J.F. Harrison, rang Freddie Simpson, who was the works manager, to ask why the locomotives were still not in traffic. It had been decided when they entered the works that they would be painted in BR express passenger green but the question of roof colour hadn’t been settled, so Simpson, who was known as something of a jester, replied that the hold-up was due to this indecision.
‘Freddie’, said Harrison, ‘You can paint them yellow for all I care, just get them back in service.’
In typical fashion, Simpson promptly had the roofs painted primrose yellow.
Harrison’s reaction is not recorded but within a year the roofs were grey.”

Professional wind-up as it may have been, I can’t help thinking that in conjunction with the orange and black lining, it actually works pretty well.
I’m not going to pass judgement on the overall accuracy, there being no full-size example to compare it with – for now- but examination of photographs leads me to believe that it’s a nuanced and accurate recreation of the full size beast. One thing that does impress my own eyes though is the ‘sit’ of the model which gives a pretty much prototypical small gap between the bogie top and the lower edge of the body. This is something that visually grates with me in other models such as Bachmann’s production series Deltic (happily addressed with the NRM prototype model) and can throw the look of a model badly.
I can’t honestly find anything glaringly wrong with this model on this fairly casual inspection and if you are considering the acquisition of one I would say go for it.
It’s certainly very attractive and I’m looking forward to the arrival of a pair in 1955 black livery next year from a certain South Yorkshire emporium next year!

Jumbo; The Last Lap

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It’s been a long time coming (getting on for four years now) but finally, the Jumbo works satisfactorily and the model is entering the final stages of construction. Over the last few days an identity has been settled upon; that of Stranraer’s 57375. The loco has the right boiler fittings and the vacuum ejector pipe has been fitted. She will be fitted with pipe runs along the footplate, a Westinghouse pump, tender handrails and lamp irons. I’m also going to add rivet detail using Archers Transfers which lend themselves well to the task. Here comes the fun part to counter the long, tough slog!

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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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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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!